Teaching inclusive social circus classes
A professional development seminar for teachers, education assistants, occupational therapists and for circus artists who teach circus classes, presented by occupational therapist and circus teacher, Isobel Lyall.
Social circus involves a focus on the process of learning, a joy in the practice of skills for its own sake, and the self-direction of the individual student to pursue the skills and apparatus in which their interests lie. Circus training has been shown to develop confidence, problem-solving, social and communication and planning skills. These factors make circus particularly beneficial and accessible to children vulnerable to social isolation and reduced activity participation due to disability, learning difficulties or other individual differences. Including children with individual differences in group programs is not, however, as simple as just allowing them to participate. In many cases, the key to successful inclusion of children with disabilities lies in a range of specific modifications to address the students' needs, which can be broadly classed as skill development, environmental adaptations, and specific teaching strategies.
In this two-day seminar, CirQuest Circus School's principal teacher and occupational therapist Isobel Lyall will deliver an overview of motor skill development and the development of sensory and emotional regulation in typically-developing children as well as children with individual differences. Isobel will unpack the ways in which circus training can enable children to practice and develop the capacities which impact on learning of motor skills. Sessions will include practical training in providing physical assistance to assist in teaching acrobatics, aerials, object manipulation and equilibristic skills, as well as a variety of strategies to grade and adapt activities to match the child's learning needs, and ways to optimise engagement, attention and concentration, and motivation for learning. Strategies for working with children with developmental and learning challenges to optimise performance and participation in the context of circus classes are also transferable to other learning environments and to other students, and this seminar will be beneficial for instructors across subject areas,and to teachers of adult learners as well as children.
The State government through the Department of Sport and Recreation is a major supporter of the Teaching Inclusive Social Circus Classes seminars in Western Australia. Sport and recreation builds stronger, healthier, happier and safer communities and we gratefully acknowledge the Department's support.