The Benefits of Circus Skills

Juggling the timetable: Why every school should teach circus skills in PE lessons?

by i Team – Sept 2016

Some studies done by scientists at Oxford university have proven that after six weeks of practice juggling increases the grey matter, or cabling network, of the brain by 5%. Proving what was previously not thought possible, that new stimuli can alter the brains  structure.

Nature science journal reported in a similar study that three months after the new jugglers had stopped juggling, brain scans showed the increase in grey matter had been significantly reduced.

Education World also reports that students school work is improved after learning to juggle. Improvements in concentration, eye hand coordination, fine motor skills, reading and behaviour are just some of the benefits of juggling cited by educators.

Children who had trouble learning to juggle also had difficulty learning to read. With extra juggling practice their reading improved also.

Schools across America who have adopted circus skills programmes report a marked improvement in academic activities. David Finnigan who has travelled to more than 2,000 schools across the U.S. to teach students states that juggling teaches from the outside in.

While learning to juggle they use the left side of the brain, when juggling the right side. After they have been juggling for a while both sides of the brain become active.
Putting aside all of the scientific studies let’s not forget that it’s fun with a capital F, watching the kids learning and the joy it generates in them is in itself evidence enough of the positive effects of circus skills.

Juggling good for the brain, study shows  by CNN international- Jan 2004

Study links juggling to academic skills  by Education World – March 2002



Social Circus and the Research Shows…

The Positive effects of Circus

by Ushan Boyd

Circus is becoming known for engaging hard to reach people, to engage them and give them tools to develop physical and mental skills.

The Guardian posted this article.

From the article :

The rewards [of circus] are plenty. “Circus skills can be used to teach life skills, including perseverance, teamwork, trust and positive risk-taking,” says Che. Young people can apply these life skills outside of the circus – which can help make them more employable and taking part in workshops can give a sense of self-worth while boosting their confidence.”

Circus is accepted now as a ‘sport’ by many groups, including our own BRAC. The Australian Institute of Sports teamed up with the National Institute of Circus Arts to create a handy little booklet for 4 – 12 year olds -Circus: Playing for Life. Circus is becoming more and more popular, and for many reasons.

Circus is collaborative, not competitive. It offers core strength, upper and lower body workouts, as well as balance, hand-eye co-ordination and mental acuity workouts. It is social and supportive, fun and engaging. It encourages having a go, and rewards perseverance and tenacity. In addition to the health benefits of circus, it develops creativity, and helps with concentration and focus.

Social Circus methods can be used with youth at risk, marginalised groups, Indigenous groups, the mentally or physically disabled, juvenile offenders and survivors of assault.(NICA)

Theatre Kimberley has been using circus to engage youth, remote and regional participants for a number of years. Our program has nurtured a new generation of circus ‘all-stars’. Now our programs are taking circus (and performance arts) into the Kimberley, delivering projects directly to communities and schools.