“We were not able to afford it again up until now,” she said.
Teaching circus arts is not something new at Cooperstown Elementary, however. Herzig said she brought the idea with her when she joined the staff 21 years ago.
“We do an entire unit each year,” she said. “We do some things with kindergarten, first- and second-graders, but we really start things up when students reach the third-grade. They continue through middle and high school.”
The goal is to encourage more in-depth exploration into the circus arts, Herzig said.
“Circus arts are a wonderful avenue for non-traditional sports,” she said. “It also helps kids to learn to develop avenues in the non-traditional sports areas. It encourages balance, it encourages coordination, including hand-eye-coordination, it encourages kids to be able to explore talents that they were unaware of.”
Although Herzig said she has been including circus arts into the physical education curriculum for years, she admits she picked up more ideas after seeing artists from The National Circus Project perform. For example, she said she had never done devil sticks or plate spinning with the students before their visit.
Having the artists working with the third-graders so that they can perform a final act is an amazing growth opportunity, Herzig said.
“They are going to see their skills develop, they are going to be able to put it into a cohesive act and perform in front of the entire school, so that is all huge. It is going to be enormous,” she added.