The circus may seem like fun and games, but for Bayville Intermediate School fifth-graders, putting on a circus was serious work. 

Thanks to the Bayville Elementary PTA, the National Circus Project has been visiting the school for one week each year, teaching circus skills to fifth-graders and helping them prepare to present their very own circus. The students learned physical and mental skills such as balance, coordination, concentration and cooperation. They also learned about perseverance and focusing on having fun rather than being perfect. Putting on an actual circus show, including several acts, was the culmination of the weeklong training. 

The National Circus Project is an arts-in-education program, physical education program and cultural program all rolled into one. Bayville Elementary Principal Scott McElhiney said the program enriches the curriculum in many ways. “Many of the strategies they learn preparing for the circus can be used in the classroom as well,” he said. He explained that learning to stick with something that is difficult is one of those skills. He added that although the students are gaining valuable educational experiences, they think they are just having fun.

The students held two performances, one for students and another for families. Acts included walking on stilts, tumbling, balancing, comedy routines and engaging the audience to use their imaginations.