Circus Workshops for Schools
For circus workshops in schools in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire
or Buckinghamshire, (or herts beds and bucks for the lazy typists)
look no further.
We do venture further, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Essex are pretty common destinations too as well as London. If we can't cover your area, we probably know someone who does.
Juggling has been shown in scientific
studies to aid development of the brain, and also been linked
academic skills, so it's not surprising that school circus workshops
are becoming more and more popular.
If you're thinking of booking a circus workshop for your school,
here are a few things that might help you plan your circus school
day, or afternoon.
School Circus Workshop Format and Length
It very much depends on how many children you've got, how much
space you've got, and how much time we've got, what will be the best
way to run a circus workshop in your school.
The shortest lessons we've done is twenty minutes per class, but
this really is for just a taster session. The longest we've done
is a week (and they still wanted to stay and do more
afterwards). Two hours is a good length per class. Generally class
size is anything from fifteen to thirty. We've done upto sixty.
Obviously the more time we can dedicate to each pupil the better,
so lower class sizes are more productive.
We know that schools are always running to a tight budget, so we'll
do everything we can to provide the best experience we can for all
your children in the time allowed. Just talk
to us, and we'll see what we can arrange.
When running circus workshops in schools, we tend to use a combination
of formal teaching, and simply letting the children explore everything
while we offer all the help we can. We find this provides the best
way of ensuring that the children are guided in the right direction,
while allowing them time to practice, and then through circus, develop
their own transferable skills.
Planning the Day
Our sessions are generally split into a combination of demonstration
and then 'play time'. We work in a number of formats depending on
how long we've got, and how many people we're working with.
If we're working with a lot of students, and packing a lot of sessions
into a day (which often happens with schools), then it's often benificial
to do a 'show/demonstration' to everyone at the start of the day,
so there's more time for serious play when each group gets to have
In a perfect word, it's preferable to do the demonstrations in smaller
groups, in which more people will feel more comfortable contributing
or asking questions, but if you're planning a timetable, and it's
looking a bit packed (individual session length is under an hour),
then talk to us about doing the demonstration side of things in
one go to everyone at once. The demonstration can take anything
from 20 to 45 mins (it's usually towards the longer end as kids
like to join in) so it really can help to do this for everyone in
one go, rather than include it in each individual session.
We have a recomended lower age limit of seven, although
we break this rule quite happily all the time, but
because there are issues of attention span, and starting ability
level with very young children we try to make sure everyone has
reasonable expectations if we're running circus workshops with children
at the lower end of the school age range.
Obviously we don't have a maximum age limit.
Our Workshop Leaders
Alight Fingers only use professional jugglers or circus artists
to teach our circus workshops. This means that we can provide a
level of awe and wonder other providers who for instance, use childrens
entertainers, might not be able to deliver. When you're looking
to hire a circus workshop, always ask about the skills of the person
who'll be running it. There are different circus workshops for different
The Props/Toys that We Work/Play With
All of the circus props/toys that we bring are intended to help
either learning coordination, or balance. We bring in a range of
toys for all abilities and there is often a natural progression
from one to another. For instance, a pedal walker helps the pupil
to learn the basic balance skills for riding a unicycle, juggling
scarves help to learn juggling balls, and chinese ribbons help to
We use quality circus props, even though we call them 'toys', because
we recognise, that it's simply not the same pleasure learning if
you don't have good equipment to do it with.
The Equipment We Bring for School Circus Workshops can Include
Juggling Balls and Scarves
Certainly not the easiest of skills to master, but it's the
one that everyone wants to attain. We can break it down into
simple steps that can be practiced separately to make learning
to juggle as easy as it's going to be. We've taught literally
thousands of people how to juggle, and we'll bring all that
experience to you.
It's one of the great introductions to circus skills, because
it's reasonably easy to get started (once someone shows you
how), but has a wealth of space for additional development.
Most people find this difficult, until someone who really
knows how to teach it shows them how .... again, we have taught
so many people how to do this ....and once you can do it,
it's really quite addictive ...
Devil Sticks and Flower Sticks
Back in the day, Ug the Caveman (or woman, we couldn't tell
because of all the fir) picked up three sticks and realised
he could make one float in the air, using the other two ...
amazing, and a little bit devilish ... these days, we have
the same things, coated with really grippy silicone to make
it as simple as possible to get started.
Children love to see this being done, and they love to try
it. Very few will master it in a day, but they'll have a lot
of fun trying.
Is it difficult?
It's a one wheeled bike ... what do you think?
Great fun in their own right, but a really good aid for teaching
the basic balance necessary for unicycling. All with the benefit
of having four wheels and slightly more stability.
"That's just a ribbon"
"Nope ... It's a ribbon ... and a stick!"
For years the only place we saw these was for five minutes
every four years when the Olympic Gymnastics was on. Then
someone realised they're great for teaching basic mobility,
especially with the very young, but older folks love them
too. We first got them in when we realised they we're a great
introductory step to teaching Poi.
If you've ever been to a festival, you will have seen someone
swinging a pair of poi around. Balls on strings, with large
These are great for teaching coordination, and balance, and
when used properly a large amount of smoothness, grace and
'flow'. We use the kind with soft ends ....not the ones with
balls or weights in.
A favourite with the very young, and another of those things
where it really helps to have someone teach you the more complicated
aspects. At it's most basic, it's a simple teacher of subtlety.
keeping the plate spinning, without knocking it off the stick
requires a delicate touch... but you'll soon want to know
how to get it going in more complicated ways, and that's where
it pays to have some expert tuition.
Great fun, and great exercise. We only use professional quality
hoops which makes a big difference. We've taught so many people
to hula who thought they could never do it.
So stop trying to do it on the Wii, and try it for real.
A feather is the ideal place to start to learn to balance
objects, because wind resistance means it's a little slower
to tilt over than most other items. It's something that most
people can do, but of course, once you can do the basics,
we know all kinds of ways to make it harder, and more interesting.
And if you like, once we've exhausted the feather, we can
show you how to balance a unicycle, or a chair on your chin.
The joy of growing a couple of feet taller. Again, this is
always a favourite. We use hand held stilts for beginners,
because it makes it far easier to make a graceful exit if
or when you do lose your balance.
Of course, we can give those few useful tips that make it
so much easier, because the best way to do this, is not the
Because some of the items listed above do have some element of
risk involved, we are happy to provide a risk assessment on request,
and of course we carry public liability insurance. On the subject
of paperwork, we are also CRB checked.
Of course, if you've got any questions at all about circus workshops
and circus skills sessions in schools, please just