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Circus: More than It Seems

Circus: More than It Seems
Kara Steere

For HMS seventh- and eighth-graders, the annual Hilltop Circus performances represent a significant and eagerly awaited block. The Fall 2022 issue of School Renewal magazine featured HMS’ developmental circus arts and their alignment with a Waldorf curriculum. (Posted with permission, courtesy of AWSNA and School Renewal.)

"The threefold Waldorf approach to education (doing, thinking, and feeling) is right in line with what children learn through circus practice," says Hilltop Circus founder Jackie Davis, Ed.M. For example,

  • Tumbling, human pyramids, and acrobatics also help build trust in peers and teach individuals their responsibility to the whole.
  • Juggling allows students to practice eye-hand coordination, concentration, and persistence.
  • Feats of balance on the unicycle, tightwire, rolling globe, balance board, and stilts give students opportunities to confront and overcome fear as well as to maintain composure in unstable situations.
  • Friendly clowns offer the performers and the audience the chance to explore human emotions: waves of confusion mixed with cleverness, frustration with joy.
  • Aerial acts on trapeze and aerial fabric help students build physical and mental strength and endurance.

"On the surface, these skills are just fun things to see and learn," says Jon Roitman, High Mowing’s movement and circus teacher. "But they translate to much bigger life and social skills. Over and over, I see children in circus programs grow their circus skills, executive function, persistence — with of course, strength, flexibility, and coordination."

Behind the Curriculum

As you carefully consider the learning environment you want for your child, you probably have a lot of questions.

Gain insight into specific aspects of the High Mowing School Waldorf curriculum and pedagogy from our experienced authors.

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