When the grade four students in Mrs. Olynik’s class from Acadia School arrived at Campus Calgary Stampede School to investigate the Dreams of the Stampede, they didn’t know they would spend an afternoon under the Big Top! Thanks to a teacher with a dream to explore Cirque du Soleil, the curtains were raised by the Cirque du Soleil publicist Amelie.


Under the Grand Chapiteau

The students were outfitted with bright green visitor passes and entered the stage area full of great questions about the artists, the tents and the many occupations it takes to make the Cirque dream a reality. Perhaps one of the best outcomes of this visit on Stampede Park was connecting with the teacher and students of Cirque school. Five young Russian students, whose parents perform on the stage daily, have taken their school on the road. The students who travel with Cirque live a very unique life. Not only is their classroom very small and in a different city every two months, but they also get the opportunity to learn different skills, like contortion and juggling as well as some of the trade skills like sewing with wardrobe. They also explore their own interest; one student is a competitive diver and dives with a new coach in each new city they visit. Their school day and week is also very different than what we would consider “traditional”, from Wednesday to Sunday from noon until 6 p.m.


Cirque du Soliel’s Amelie shares about Kurios and Cirque

These students and their teachers answered all of the Stampede School students’ questions. “Are you sometimes nervous your parents will get hurt?” one student asked. Nikita, a Russian boy learning English, answered quickly with a yes and also “we are proud of our parents.” The visiting students were also curious and asked about Stampede School and why they were here. The Calgary students were excited to hear about this small school and the challenges and benefits of a school that looks different from Acadia School. Stampede School students are well prepared to move their classroom into vibrant community settings and bonded quite quickly with the Cirque students. The Cirque teacher summed up this experience with this explanation to her students, “These boys and girls are at Stampede School learning about stories and WE are part of that right now.” How great it is to be part of one another’s stories; all learning together?

Cirque and Stampede School students learning together in Union Cemetery

Stampede School even invited the Cirque class to participate in some of our activities. Last week three young students joined us on our tour of Union Cemetery. An opportunity for the children whom have called Calgary home for the past two months, to learn about some of the people who helped build our city and landscape. It was also an opportunity for them to participate with their peers and engage with each other socially. As we move the classroom into the community we continue to uncover curriculum in so many unique ways, create unexpected relationships and inspire learning to go beyond the obvious.

For more information about Campus Calgary Stampede School check the website: http://ccom.cbe.ab.ca/stampede/stampede.html


Cirque Teacher Ms. C engages with her students