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August 21, 2018  |  

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The Melissa Jones School held The MJS Circus of Learning with grant from the Guilford Fund in May. Here, Schaefer Pagano gets some guidance from instructor Leandro Calado on stilt walking. 

Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier

The Melissa Jones School held The MJS Circus of Learning with grant from the Guilford Fund in May. Here, Schaefer Pagano gets some guidance from instructor Leandro Calado on stilt walking. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)

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Sarah O’Brien lines up spinning plates for (from left) Sierra Calbo, Patrick McGrath, Caleb Hansen, and Gianna Dimicco. Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier

Sarah O’Brien lines up spinning plates for (from left) Sierra Calbo, Patrick McGrath, Caleb Hansen, and Gianna Dimicco. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)

The Circus Comes to Melissa Jones Elementary School

Published June 13, 2018

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This is not your average physical education class. For the week of May 21, the students of Melissa Jones Elementary School (MJS) joined the circus, choosing stilts over jumping jacks and plate spinning over dodge ball.

The program, called the MJS Circus of Learning, was made possible through a partnership with the National Circus Project that gave students the opportunity to learn circus tricks such as juggling, plate spinning, balancing, and stilts—all tricks that are both fun for students and help refine gross and fine motor movements.

MJS physical education teacher Derek DeLucia wrote a grant to bring the program to the school. The Guilford Fund for Education and the MJS PTO paid for the grant.

“I was intrigued by this grant idea, as I believe that the MJS Circus of Learning positively increases overall school climate and creates a fun atmosphere for students to learn and express themselves,” DeLucia said. Furthermore, it gives students the opportunities to take on physical work that is unconventional in a school and/or a physical education setting. Its program is innovative because it allows students to practice individualized, self-motivated, noncompetitive skills at their own pace and achieve both long and short term goals.”

Students practiced their skills all week, working closely with Julia and Calado, two circus professionals from the National Circus Project, before performing their new skills at an all-school assembly on May 25.

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