Manege free: children come alive

For one week, 250 children from 1st – 6th grade in Villingendorf primary and secondary school immersed themselves in the circus world. These were instructed by the educators of the Freiburg Circus Abeba and supported not only by their well-known teachers and support staff, but also by nearly 20 students from the Catholic University of Applied Sciences in Freiburg. In two completely sold-out performances in front of a total of about 1,000 spectators in a circus tent on the school grounds, the children impressed with their newly learned skills. The project was made possible by the funding program Go live.

Elementary school coordinator Birgit Storz, who was in charge, was grateful: “When you see the radiant faces of the kids in the ring, your heart melts and you know all the work was worth it.”

In light of the effects of the pandemic on the youngest, the Villingendorf school decided to focus on students’ socio-emotional support. “After two years, largely without action-oriented projects and societal experiences that make up our school, we are now back in power,” says Jan C. Rolli, chairman of the parents’ council.

Pictures from the demonstration

The purpose of the circus project week is to promote children’s personal and social skills and rediscover self-efficacy. “It was touching to see the children come out of themselves during the week. In their circus group, they became involved in new ways of expressing themselves and discovered that they could suddenly speak loudly, move confidently and above all laugh together and achieve something, ”says teacher Julia Müller. Her colleague Ines Hetzel highlights the age-mixed groups of six to twelve-year-olds: “It was nice to accompany very different children as they discovered their own strengths and talents and deliberately trained them during the circus week and eventually used them in the ring. Every child was the center of attention. ” “I am especially pleased that the Ukrainian children who recently came to our school could be integrated,” says school principal Rainer Kropp-Kurta.

The two performances in the completely sold-out circus tent delighted the 1,000 spectators. Acrobatics, balance, clowns, magic with a few tricks and magnificent illusion, ladder acrobatics, fakirs, fire, hula hoops, pantomime, poi and staff, ring, air silk, juggling, jumping rope, dancing, trampoline and trapeze: in a very varied show of one and a half I for hours the children showed what they had learned, and received thunderous applause and standing ovations. Teacher Simon Schoch was enthusiastic: “What makes the magic of the circus is the diversity that is also found in GWRS. The children have developed into artists, learned to impress responsibly with the element of fire or how to source the clowns out of themselves.” the hospitality of the irish class developed a real school festival which will be remembered for a long time.

The project is possible thanks to the action program Collection after Corona by the federal government, which is responding to the consequences of the corona pandemic for children and young people. Due to the limitations of day care and school operations, but also due to loss of leisure and support services, lack of contacts or tense everyday situations, many of them have to struggle with learning failure, psychosocial stress and the consequences of lack of exercise. Within the action program, the German Children and Youth Fund (DKJS) is in action the future funding program BARK! live – the future is now. which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Seniors, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ). This program supports children and young people to cope with the effects of the corona pandemic and to regain everyday structures.

The purpose of the program is to strengthen young people’s personality development, social life and mental and physical regeneration through on-site offers tailored to the target group. Social learning and the bonds between children and young people should also be promoted.

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