Gymnastics, Acrobatics, Circus Arts & Aerial
In many Steiner Waldorf schools around the world, the role of Circus Arts plays an important part within the context of a pedagogically oriented Movement/Athletic Programme based upon child development. Here at The Edinburgh Steiner School the Circus Arts are worked with and utilized in a variety of ways from Class 1 upwards and woven into the Movement/Physical Education lessons. There are also currently five very popular after school Clubs, including a Performance Group. These Programmes allow the pupils to develop and hone their skills and capacities in a safe, warm and playful environment, moving towards sharing their talents in a performance setting.
A recent study showed that more than a quarter of girls aged 7-21 believed physical education “was more for boys” than them. Almost half believed boys were better at “being strong”. Held by three coaches with up to 25 pupils in the School Hall, these Clubs for children aged 6 – 18 offer a varied programme that dismantles gender stereotyping, boosting inclusivity. These Movement/Athletic skills translate extremely well into other more ‘traditional’ Athletic/Sporting endeavours that are taken up either in the school setting or in other after school and weekend Programmes in the wider community.
Large and small-scale spatial and hand-eye coordination are essential for most forms of activity and are stimulated in countless ways throughout the curriculum. Sports are only one element of what we would call ‘movement education’. Our ethos is non-competitive, and so movement—including acrobatics, eurythmy and circus skills—is folded into many aspects of the curriculum, with particular activities introduced at appropriate ages to strengthen coordination, aid thinking, build confidence and resilience, and gain intelligent skills (manipulation, equilibria, acrobatic, aerial, movement) through the constructive use of play and structured games, derived from and tailored to an individual pupil’s capabilities.
This after school Club includes gymnastics, tumbling, silks, trapeze, human pyramids, beam work, walking globe, juggling, unicycle and diablo. It is currently offered to Classes 1 – 2 combined, as well as Classes 3 – 4 and Classes 5 – 7; and a Performance Club for pupils of all ages including Upper School pupils; and can be enjoyed by all young people: boys, girls and those who identify as gender-fluid or non-binary, who work together on an equal footing.
Circus Arts are increasingly being recognised for providing an alternative kinaesthetic approach to Physical Education (PE) tailored to an individual’s capabilities. The dynamic programme helps pupils acquire intelligent physical skills such as manipulation, equilibria, acrobatic, aerial, movement; whilst building a physicality that supports the development of children and young people as competent, confident and healthy individuals. These physical competences foster confidence, motivation, knowledge and understanding that provides children and young people with a physical movement foundation suitable for lifelong participation in physical activity.
The Clubs are held in the School Hall during term time in groups of up to 25 pupils; run by the three coaches below and overseen by our Physical Education Steiner Waldorf Teacher, Peter Sheen. They are booked termly, though pupils can join mid-term, space depending: