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Heydon Park SS students experience circus arts through innovative social intervention program

Heydon Park SS students experience circus arts through innovative social intervention program

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Categories: Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

If you walked into a Heydon Park Secondary School grade 10 physical education class recently, you would see a class like no other.  The spinning of plates, juggling of balls and scarves, the building of human pyramids, the tossing of diabolos and the performing of acrobatic flips were just a few of the basic circus skills that students have been practicing since the arrival of “Social Circus Circle” instructors, Rachel David and Rebecca Leonard.   

Students at Heydon Park SS participated in a four week program in which the development of personal and social skills was infused into the physical demands of the social circus program.  Combining art with physical education has proven to be a big hit with the students.  Students followed a curriculum that challenged them to step out of their comfort zones, and to learn to trust and accept support from others. The building of self-confidence, self- esteem, and team building skills came through the interactive activities and games in which the students participated. The expression “practice makes perfect” seemed to resonate with many of the students. They were keen participants not only during the gym class, but also during lunch when the program was extended to others students within the school.   

Principal Donna Drummond is a strong advocate and supporter of the program and the skills it helps students develop. “Girls who I never dreamed would get up on stage and perform in front of the whole school gained confidence and built so much self- esteem from participating in this program,” she said.  “Seeing them perform and demonstrate the skills they acquired proves that their amazing talents can be brought out when provided with the right learning opportunities.”

Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of this impressive program is its broad appeal and the fact that all students can participate.  Instructor Rachel David told Drummond that “what I love about circus is its diversity; the fact the there is a role for everyone. Each can find something they like and are good at, and all can work together with their different talents and create something special.”   

This is the third time that Heydon Park students have been able to participate in this wonderful project. This year, thanks to the support of the Ontario Arts Council funding for Artists in Education, the school has been able to extend the program and give more students the opportunity to participate. And it has been so well received that they look forward to having Social Circus Circle back again in the spring. 


Tags: Secondary

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