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Circus pedagogy as a tool for youth work development
Start date: 01 Aug 2016, End date: 31 Mar 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In a context where it is becoming increasingly hard to reach youngsters, we understand the importance of developing and delivering interesting and stimulating activities to better involve youth worker's target group aged between 13 and 30.We want to propose appealing activities to youngsters in the form of circus pedagogy workshops. Apart from being attractive to young people, these activities convey modern values of citizenship, honesty and cooperation and at the same time build personal self-esteem and trust. With that in mind, we want to provide youth workers with an innovative and flexible method of work and educate them to help reach their goals.We will do so by running a Training Course for youth workers in Finland from 12th to the 19th of October 2016 in the city of Hamina in the south of Finland. We use circus activities as a form of pedagogy in teaching and in non-formal education. Our main idea is that circus activity is appealing and fun for everybody, making it ideal as a tool for educational work with youngsters. The aim is to introduce youth workers and youngsters to positive, healthy activities that encourages co-operation, and strengthen confidence, while developing co-ordination and persistence. The end result is much more than learning these skills – it also helps to improve self-esteem, build on a social capital and direct people towards positive ways of living. Our project involves 30 participants (including support stuff and trainers) from 11 countries (Finland, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Lithuania) all active in youth work. We want to involve many different countries as we would like to offer participants a chance to broaden their cultural horizon, make new contacts outside their countries and help them kick start their own international projects. We believe that these projects are a key to more efficient youth work, and therefore a key to improving youngsters’ lifestyle across the European Union.Helped by a staff of professional circus experts, we rely on this project to reach our main goal of teaching the participants the basics of various circus skills such as acrobalance (partner and group acrobatics), juggling, diabolo, balloon modelling etc. and various methods of preparing and implementing circus workshops, which they will be able to use as a tool in their work with youngsters. Our pedagogical work is based on practical workshops, case studies and theoretical presentation and group reflection. At the end of our training course all the participants will be equipped with knowledge on how to prepare and implement circus pedagogy workshop on their own. Through a program including circus pedagogy methods, intercultural activities and a shared analysis of youth work we aim at offering participants the chance to:• Identify the use and value of the different learned skills in their daily youth work;• Juggle and to teach youngsters how to juggle (with balls, diabolo, poi...);• Use acro-balance and equilibristic as their tool of work;• Work with balloons and link this to their personal / organizational needs;• Be able to prepare circus pedagogy workshop on their own and execute it in their work with youngsters;• Act as multipliers in their local and regional communities;• Have enough information and contacts to take part in other Erasmus plus projects or make one on their own.All the youth workers joining our project will gain new skills and methods which will improve their quality of youth work. As they will act as multiplayer in their own organization and share the knowledge they learned with their co-workers that will bring some fresh energy and contribute to the higher level of work in their organization and might as well motivate co-workers to educate themselves in the same or similar attractive methods of work. Working together with 26 participants and our staff of 4 will also interact with the local population of Hamina city, offering them a final public circus event consisting from a circus workshop and performance, to share a moment of happiness, of intercultural reciprocal exchange and, at the same time, send out a clear message about the potentialities of non-formal education to the young citizens of the hosting town.
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