The circus recently came to Notre Dame School in New Hyde Park. The parents’ organization, P.A.V.E., arranged for a week-long circus residency at the school.
The National Circus Project, founded in 1984, brought their Greatest Show in Schools program to Notre Dame beginning on Feb. 4. The week began with an assembly featuring Renaldo and Will, the artists-in-residence that amazedand delighted the students from PK through Grade 8. The program introduces circus skills as individualized, non-contact physical education and cultural arts activities that improve motor coordination and boost self-esteem for both athletes and athletic under-achievers alike.
Basic skills workshops were scheduled for the entire student body, coordinated by Ms. Kristina LoCastro, the Physical Education/Health teacher. Target groups from grades 4,5 and 7 were given more in-depth, intensive instruction. Such fun skills as stilt-walking, juggling and plate spinning had students gladly exchanging recess time for extra practice!Even the teachers and administrators joined in the fun.
When not tumbling or juggling, students extended the circus theme in their classes with stories, math problems, science questions, spelling and vocabulary that was related to the circus.
Students in Mrs. Burnett’s Art classes created beautiful paintings and posters withwhich to decorate the gym. Mrs. Durkin, principal, commented, “This has been a terrificway to boost the students’ self-esteem. Students are seeing first-hand that practice andmotivation make even a difficult skill easy to learn.”
Friday found the students working on a last run-through. The fun was scheduled tobegin in earnest at dismissal.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature interfered in the form of asnowstorm. Reluctantly, the show was postponed to Monday evening.
Monday evening’s show was standing room only. The sell-out crowd had a wonderfultime watching the students perform and the students had a wonderful time showing offtheir new-found skills.