School walks tall with cir­cus skills


The Advocate (Perth) - - NEWS - Lynn Gri­er­son

THERE’S no need to run away with the cir­cus when there are classes close to home in acro­bat­ics, aerial rib­bons and jug­gling at Brown Park Recre­ation Cen­tre.

CirQuest Cir­cus School is cel­e­brat­ing a year of coach­ing cir­cus skills to the young and the ‘youn­gat-heart’ with prin­ci­pal in­struc­tor Iso­bel Lyall at the Swan View fa­cil­ity near Mid­land.

“I bring my spe­cial­ist skills as an oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist, as well as my 27 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence as a cir­cus and gym­nas­tics teacher, to these classes, mak­ing them an ideal de­vel­op­men­tal ac­tiv­ity for lit­tle peo­ple,” she said.

Classes avail­able dur­ing school terms also of­fer train­ing in trapeze, di­a­bolo, flower sticks, hu­la­hoops, mini-tram­po­line, stilt walk­ing, uni­cy­cle and many other cir­cus skills.

There are groups for five to eight-year-olds and those aged nine to 12 years ev­ery Tues­day af­ter­noon af­ter school.

“We have just added a class for tod­dlers and kindy-aged chil­dren on Fri­day morn­ings as well, which are a lot of fun,” Ms Lyall said.

“We’re reg­is­tered for the ex­cel­lent Kid­sport pro­gram, which the Depart­ment of Sport and Recre­ation pro­vides to en­able chil­dren whose families hold a Health Care Card to ac­cess fund­ing of up to $200 a year to pay for ex­tracur­ric­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.”

Ms Lyall said Brown Park Recre­ation Cen­tre was not the new­est cen­tre in the area, but the main hall floor had ben­e­fit­ted from a resur­face and the fa­cil­ity was val­ued in the com­mu­nity.

“So­cial cir­cus teach­ers teach cir­cus with a fo­cus on the process of learn­ing and de­vel­op­ing per­for­mance skills, rather than on the out­comes,” she said.

“This means we’re able to cater to the unique needs, strengths and in­ter­ests of each of our in­di­vid­ual stu­dents.”

Ms Lyall said so­cial cir­cus train­ing had a pos­i­tive ef­fect on the de­vel­op­ment of the whole per­son and was par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fi­cial in the ar­eas of so­cial in­ter­ac­tion, prob­lem solv­ing, plan­ning skills, self-es­teem and con­fi­dence build­ing.

“It also pro­vides peo­ple with a sense of be­long­ing to a com­mu­nity as an in­te­gral and val­ued mem­ber of a team as well as co-or­di­na­tion, strength, flex­i­bil­ity and tech­ni­cal skills,” she said.

CirQuest Cir­cus School is the flag­ship pro­gram of Disco Can­tito (Latin for learn and play) As­so­ci­a­tion, the not-for-profit com­mu­nity arts or­gan­i­sa­tion launched by Ms Lyall in 2007 with col­league Dawn Pas­coe.

Ms Lyall said she would like to ex­tend the pro­gram to teenagers and adults and any­one in­ter­ested should con­tact her for more de­tails.

Visit http://cirquest. or call 0408 626 941.

Stilt­walk­ers Therese Spencer (11) and Am­ber Con­nell (12).

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