September is here and you have been put in charge of hiring this year’s school assembly performers and special classroom visitors.  You have so many great options: musical performances, dance companies, history actors and so much more.  But when you ask students which assemblies they remember most, love the best, and want to see every year you’ll hear “bring the animals!”

It is no secret that kids love animals.  Reptiles, birds, mammals, insects and all kinds of creatures have the ability to catch students’ attention more than any video screen ever will.  The trick is to hire the best quality, and most professional animal presenters.

rachel assembly 1

Here are 5 tips on getting the best animal show for your school’s assembly budget.

1.  Finding Your Animal Assembly

Does your school or school district have access to a list or catalog of approved school performers?  This is the FIRST place to look.  In Northern Virginia, Bluemont Artists in Education  offers a list of approved performers who have demonstrated their show’s educational value and professionalism.  Of course, if your school is located in the DC/MD/VA area, you call Reptiles Alive!  🙂

A second option is a Google search for animal shows in your area.  Try search terms such as “school assemblies in [your area]” or “live animal shows in [your area]”.

2.  Choosing Your Animal Assembly

Once you have a list of choices, now it’s time to do some research.  Is the company licensed by your state to present live animal shows in public?  Is the company fully insured with both liability and workers compensation?  Can the company provide you with references from previous schools?

Animal shows for schools need to be ultra safe and educational.  Keep in mind that the most professional and experienced animal presenters with the appropriate insurance may also be more expensive than less experienced or amateur presenters.  Don’t make the mistake of choosing a live animal show based on price alone.

3.  Before Booking Your Animal Assembly

You will need to gather the following  information from your school’s principal, PTA president, or whoever is ultimately in charge:

  • What is the maximum budget you are allowed to spend on the show?
  • How many students will be attending each show (keep in mind that smaller groups are better and keeping the grade levels close, ex K-2nd and then 3rd-5th is smart)?
  • How many shows will you need?
  • What times will you need the shows?
  • What dates are available and desired in the school’s calendar and performance space?
  • Will you have a parking space available for the performer to load/unload safely and efficiently?
  • Will you be able to pay a deposit?  What are your school’s standard payment terms for school assembly performers?
  • Does the school require the performer to submit a Certificate of Insurance and if so, what, if any, special language will need to be on the Certificate?

 4.  Booking Your Animal Assembly Show

Contact the animal show company as soon as possible as many performers book up early and quickly.  At Reptiles Alive LLC, we often book shows more than a year in advance!   Be sure to follow the company’s instructions on what you’ll need to do to confirm the booking,  including signing contracts, paying a deposit, and reading any preparation materials.

Many animal show companies provide teacher’s guides and other resource materials for their assemblies.  If these materials are available, be sure to pass them along to the teachers.

At school, remember to “officially” reserve the room the assembly will be in. Let the principal and/or custodian know of any set up needs the performer will have that day.  Let the office staff know the date/time of the assembly and add the date to the school’s calendar.

5.  The Day of Your Animal School Assembly

A day or two before your assembly, contact the animal show company to confirm the date and times of your show (most performers will contact you to confirm).  Find out what time they plan to arrive and double check with them what they will need from you for the performance (parking, tables, nearby electric outlet, etc…)

On the day of your show, remember to have a parking spot reserved and the assembly room ready.  Remind the office staff of the show so they know where to send the presenter when he/she arrives to set up.

Then enjoy your ssssuper happy animal assembly day!

highres_school_facebook_header2