Circus Time at Briarcliff’s Todd Elementary

Todd fourth graders became circus performers for the day during the annual visit from the National Circus Project.

For over a decade, physical education classes at Todd Elementary in Briarcliff have had an annual visit from the National Circus Project. The tradition continued on September 25. 

“We work on balancing, tossing, catching and hand eye coordination in Physical Education class, so incorporating circus skills such as juggling scarves, spinning plates, walking on stilts, tossing and catching Chinese yo-yos and devil sticks gives the students the opportunity to expand on these skills with progressions and teaching techniques that only the professionals can give,” said Todd PE teacher Michelle Hiltsley. 

After the performance, kindergarteners were encouraged to ask questions:  

“How do you juggle so fast?”  

The only way to juggle fast is to practice. Before you go to the balls, you start with scarves because they are slower and when you get better at the tossing and catching you can go faster.  

“How do you learn to walk on stilts?”  

We practice on the wall so we can get better. Everybody falls when they are learning to walk on stilts. It’s about getting up and trying again! 

“How did you catch the feather on your hand?”  

We practiced! 

Hiltsley added, “It is gratifying to witness both the hard work and dedication as each class learns new skills and the excitement of watching the older Todd students getting to show off their skills with professional circus performers with the kindergarteners as their audience.” 

The Todd PTA generously sponsors this event each year.

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About the Author: Evelyn Mertens