THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THE PROGRAM
Circus Stars is driven towards providing an inclusive and supportive training environment, where children and young people can find their own place to learn and thrive. Circus as an art-form and physical activity allows children to be creative and build confidence. The Circus Stars program is based around 5 key elements of why circus works for children: to have fun, to take safe risks, to build trust and work as a team, to encourage individuality, and to work hard on our skills. Circus Stars aims to provide a flexible learning environment, where children can participate in various skills at their own pace and skill level, this allows them to develop as individuals, while still belonging to the group.
Using the tools of circus training to "unlock the body" can open up a new world to children with special needs. Not only do they gain, strength, coordination and physical awareness, they can also gain confidence, opportunities for creative expression and a sense of "fitting in" somewhere. Within the Circus Stars class they will find a space to learn that is supportive and playful, safe and inclusive.
My research has explored the ways in which circus training can open up a new world to children with autism. One that can allow them to discover their bodies in a positive and creative manner and that also encompasses their creative and emotional development.
Skills such as trapeze, juggling, tumbling, acrobatics and skipping can develop the gross and fine motor skills in a fun and creative way, while also developing agility, core strength, balance, stability and flexibility. Trapeze and juggling in particular can be used to cross the mid-line of the brain – getting the left and right brain firing together! Proprioception is developed when we are tumbling and flipping, when we are juggling, when are hanging upside down on a trapeze. Children also learn about taking turns, sharing, trust and team work through human pyramids and partner work.It is my aim for Circus Stars to encourage us all to “re-think” the ways in which we approach physical therapy for children with special needs and to bring circus to as many children as possible especially those who deserve to sparkle most at is supportive and playful, safe and inclusive.