Circus Day teaches skills to students

September 20, 2007

The fact that a circus was running through her school all day last week did not seem to bother Principal Kathleen Creely at Field Elementary School in Park Ridge.

After all, it was all planned, and ran smoothly as far as she could see.

"It's been extraordinarily organized," said Creely as more than 500 Field School students in grades 1 to 5 behind her juggled, jumped and tight-rope walked, among other activities at 10 stations.

The first-ever Circus Day, held in just the third week of school since the summer break ended on Sept. 6, will now serve as a theme for school projects and assignments throughout the year.

Students will write about it, sing about it, and continue with circus-related events all year long, Creely said.

The event also served to bring students together at the school, she said.

"The kids are mixed up by ages, so the bigger kids have to help the little kids," said Creely. "There's been a lot of team building and an increased sense of community."

Parents and grandparents of the students came to watch and help participate in the circus run by Cirque Amongus, a Michigan-based private company.

At the end, students were allowed to pick their choice for the grand finale performance between the tightwire, juggling, riding cycles, performing magic tricks, acrobatics, equilibristics, jumping rope, hula hoops, stilts and the trapeze, among other activities.

The overall cost to bring in Cirque Amongus was $4,100. That amount was covered by the Field PTO and the District 64 Elementary Learning Foundation (ELF).

Maine East High School's Circus Performance Group, a club, also participated in the event.

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