TUMBLING and juggling have become regular classroom activities at Ararat Primary School, with the students studying circus lessons each week.
Organiser Christine Fiscalini said the classes were popular with the students.
“Our program is for students from prep to grade six and goes for an hour a week,” she said.
“We have a specialist teacher come in and teach it.”
The students learn skills such as unicycle riding, stilts, tumbling, acrobalance, flower sticks and juggling.
Acrobalance involves one acrobat balancing on another.
“They have a choice of the different skills and decide what they want to learn each term,” Ms Fiscalini said.
She said the students benefited socially and physically from the classes.
“We have seen students who are quite disengaged become more engaged because they like the risk the classes attract,” she said.
“Also students gain a lot more self-confidence and they often perform on their own.
“Physically their strength and flexibility is also improving.”
She said the students worked on performances together in small groups so the classes also encouraged teamwork.
Six students have improved their skills by attending classes at the National Institute of Circus Art throughout the year.
“They focused on tumbling and acrobalance there,” Ms Fiscalini said.
The students are now preparing to perform at the school’s annual Art Extravaganza on Thursday.
Ms Fiscalini said she knew of other schools which had circus classes but on a smaller scale.
“Other schools wouldn’t do it in every grade and it is only a small part of physical education, the same way they might play basketball for a few weeks,” she said.