Behind the scenes of the Arizona State Fair: Kids go to traveling school

A look at the traveling classroom for carnival workers kids.

PHOENIX - We all enjoy the games, rides and food when the Arizona State Fair comes to town, but behind all the excitement, there is an entire community of people who put it together.

That includes families, with kids.

"We're a one-room school house," said Kate Bishop, lead teacher at Cammack Christian Academy, which travels around the states with the carnival.

There are about 10 students, whose ages range between 4 and 13 years old. 

School days are structured similarly to most other schools.

The day starts at 8:30 a.m. and finishes around 3:30 p.m., but to accommodate all the different age groups, teachers work with students one-on-one.

Like in traditional schools, students take standardized tests.

However, Bishop said the students usually perform beyond standard expectations.

"Our goal is that our kids are ahead of our peers in the traditional school, and so far, we've been pretty successful at that," said Bishop. "We're able to look at [the standards] and go 'OK, well we've mastered the sixth grade standard, but in fifth grade, so can go ahead and look at the seventh grade standard?"

However, unlike a traditional school, this one travels, and the program makes the most out of the opportunity.

"We really aim for at least two field trips a fair, so we are taking the kids various different places based on where we are studying," said Bishop.

When they were studying space, the kids spent two days at NASA in Houston. 

Here in Phoenix, the kids will visit farms to go along with a biology lesson.

What about extracurricular activities? 

"They still get to go out and do athletics after school based on where they're at," said Bishop. "While we're in Orange County there's a really great rugby team my kids can go play on and they'll go play." 

The entire traveling community is very tightly knit.

That means when the kids are learning something, all the employees are learning it along with them. 

"If we're learning multiplication tables, the entire show is learning multiplication," Bishop said. "When we're learning state capitols, the entire show is learning state capitols."

For the most part, it's a school just like any other. Except, the playground is pretty cool.

"We do experiments where we blow things up and we have to do them outside, and there just happens to be a carnival ride somewhere behind us. But it's a normal school," said Bishop. 

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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