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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.

Why Circus?

Juggling has been shown in scientific studies to aid development of the brain, and also been linked to improved 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 their session.

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.

Age 'Limit'

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 markets.

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 learn poi.

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?


Pedal Walkers

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.


Chinese Ribbons

"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 ribbons attached.

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.


Spinning Plates

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.


Hula Hoops

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.


Balancing Feathers

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 most obvious.

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 ask us.

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