IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- Second graders studying balance and motion in science, learned circus tricks when the Amazing Grace Circus, an educational partner of Westchester Circus Arts, visited Irvington's Dows Lane Elementary School from Jan. 11-15.
Students learned how to walk on a tightwire, balance on rolla bollas, climb and hang off aerial silks. They also had the opportunity to learn juggling, diabolo manipulation and plate spinning.
At the end of the week, the students showed off their newly acquired skills to their parents, teachers and peers.
“The deepest level of understanding is demonstrated when students can transfer what they have learned to a new experience,” Dows Lane Elementary School Principal Deborah Mariniello said. “Having this hands-on, minds-on circus experience has given all second-grade students this opportunity.”
Amazing Grace Circus Creative Director Carlo Pellegrini, also known as “Mr. Amazing,” said circus arts education helps children learn progressive and sequential problem-solving while having fun in the process.
“The outcome is a complex yet subtle melding of increased executive function in the child's brain with physical learning – we call it active learning,” Pellegrini said. "The end result is teaching the kids how to acquire knowledge, not just learn by rote.”
Students said they had fun hanging upside-down on the silks and trying out the rolla bollas, which challenged their ability to balance on a flat board propped on top of a cylinder.
“I learned that everything needs motion to balance,” second-grader Peter Hyman said. “We’re learning about balance in class, and it’s really fun. My favorite part was the silks because you get to go upside-down.”
The Amazing Grace Circus’ visit was sponsored through a grant from the Dows Lane Elementary School PTSA.
Second-grade teacher Kate Falcon said the circus performers provided a variety of activities for the students to help them learn about balance and motion in a fun and interactive way.
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