“Putting a clown in a hierarchical system, like a school system or medical system, where there are positions and ranks can be very helpful. In these big systems, we often miss out in seeing the small details or seeing the people in need of treatment or acknowledgment. There are feelings of transparency. The clown can really help with an immediate connection or contact, and that allows one to feel relevant, present and seen. It works so well in hospitals and it works in schools, too,” says Safra.
Once a week, about a dozen ridiculous-looking adults, dressed in mismatching clothing and wearing oversized bows and flowers in their hair, leave their professional careers – computer programmer, nurse, opera singer, researcher, teacher, engineer, this journalist — on the sidelines to come and clown in schools around the country.
“Educational clowning brings joy to the school. The students eagerly await the short encounters they may have with the clowns during recess, and sometimes at the beginning of a test or lesson,” says Smadar Zeller, principal of ORT Singalovski high school in Tel Aviv. “Educational clowns in a school help create a more positive atmosphere because they reduce pressures and negative energy.”