An instructor teaching a child to use a diabolo

In-School Residencies & After School Activities

Circus in Schools


After School Activities

Program Objectives:

Over the past two decades, CircEsteem has built programming to help students develop confidence through circus mastery. In addition to flexibility, balance, coordination and strength CircEsteem uses a graduated learning method to allow students to build self-esteem through personal accomplishments. Our staff strive to help each student discover his or her, “Look what I can do!” moment. CircEsteem classes are designed to allow each student to work at their own pace while finding opportunities to build teamwork and collaboration. CircEsteem’s teaching method focuses on creating a positive climate. Through a culminating performance at the end of each session, students celebrate the successes of their peers and each student leaves with the understanding that there is nothing they “can’t do” with if they put their minds to it!


Kindergarten – 8th Grade

Time Commitment:

After-school classes usually run one hour, once per week.

Number of Students:

8 student minimum, 30 student maximum.

Family Engagement:

Parents and the school community are invited to engage in a final performance (often held on the last day of the session) where they can celebrate the accomplishments and new skills of the class participants.

Student Skills:

This program will target confidence building and will help students recognize that there is no limit to what they can accomplish.  Students will also be encouraged to develop confidence while on stage and performing which has been shown to translate into confidence in the classroom.  Students will have the opportunity to work on team building, as many of the skills they will be learning require students to trust each other and work together to succeed.  Building circus skills is also linked to physical fitness, fine arts, performing arts, and social-emotional learning.

In-School Residencies

CircEsteem travels to schools and community centers all over the Chicagoland area, bringing the joy of circus to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. This cooperative interaction enables students to progress at their own pace while still working together as a team.

Residencies focus on the same circus fundamentals of clowning, juggling, balance and acrobatics found in our other programs, but they follow a more intensive format that runs for 1-4 weeks. These residencies culminate in a final performance that is open to parents and the community to attend.

Financial Aid

For the winter session, CircEsteem is currently partnered with the following schools for ASAs:

Urban Prairie Waldorf School

Time: Mondays, 3:30 - 5pm, 12/5/22 - 1/30/23

North Park Elementary School

Time: Mondays, 3:30 - 4:30pm, 11/28/22 - 2/13/23

Catherine Cook School

Tuesdays, 3:30 - 4:30pm, 12/6/22 - 3/7/23

Rogers Park Montessori

Tuesdays, 3:30 - 4:30pm, 1/3/23 - 3/21/23

University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Tuesdays, 3 - 4pm, Thursdays, 3:30 - 4:30pm, 1/3/23 - 3/3/23

Paul Revere Elementary

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4:30 - 5:30pm, 1/17/23 - 2/21/23

Decatur Classical School

Wednesdays 2:45 - 3:45pm, 2/1/23 - 5/24/23

A child working on homework with a mentor
A child working on homework with a mentor
A child working on homework with a mentor
Refund & Cancellation Policies

Cancellations – CircEsteem reserves the right to cancel a class due to insufficient enrollment. In such a case, a full refund will be issued.

Drops – Students voluntarily withdrawing from a class after the registration deadline do not receive a refund.

Missed Classes – CircEsteem cannot pro-rate tuition based on anticipated or unanticipated absences.

Refunds – CircEsteem does not offer refunds except in the case that a class is cancelled by CircEsteem.

Annual Student Administration Fee – The non-refundable $30 per student fee is due upon initial registration and on your anniversary date, thereafter. This fee covers administrative and processing costs.

More Programs

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Children practicing their moves

Chicago Youth Circus

Participants choose from Skill Stations ranging from juggling, unicycle, gym wheel, trapeze, silks, lyra, clowning, and many other CircEsteem circus skills.

A circus performance in a public park

Performance Troupe

CircEsteem’s Performance Troupe is designed for experienced youth seeking to advance their skills to the next level and participate in performance opportunities through CircEsteem.

A girl smiles while hanging in an aerial hoop

Summer Camp

Summer Circus Camp is a fun, safe, supportive environment where children explore the Circus Arts and develop self-confidence, self-esteem, physical awareness and an understanding of the potential they possess.

A child working on homework with a mentor

HomeWork & CircusWork

HomeWork & CircusWork (HWCW) is a free after-school tutoring and circus arts program. This program emphasizes self-esteem, teamwork and resilience; and is a safe space for all youth.