Bayville Intermediate School looked something like a three-ring circus this week, but all the clowning around taught the students some serious lessons.

Thanks to the Bayville Elementary PTA, the National Circus Project visited the school to teach circus skills to fifth-graders and help them prepare to present their very own circus. The students learned physical and mental skills such as balance, coordination, concentration and cooperation. Acts include walking on stilts, tumbling, balancing and comedy routines. They also learned about perseverance and focusing on having fun rather than being perfect. Students in grades three and four had the opportunity to try some circus tricks during their physical education classes.

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. “The strategies they learn preparing for the circus can be used in the classroom,” he said. He explained that learning to stick with something that is difficult is one of those skills and added that although the students are gaining valuable educational experiences, they don’t even realize it because they are having so much fun.