Pro­gram helps build con­fi­dence

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - News -

A NEW Equine As­sisted Learn­ing pro­gram kicked off in Man­jimup late last month and par­tic­i­pants are singing its praises.

The pro­gram will en­ter its third week to­day at the Man­jimup Ed­u­ca­tion Sup­port Cen­tre, where five stu­dents have al­ready taken part in the one-on-one horse-to-child learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence said to help with de­vel­op­ment of lan­guage, so­cial and lead­er­ship skills as well as build­ing con­fi­dence, empathy and re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Cen­tre teach­ers and EAL fa­cil­i­ta­tors Danielle Mot­tram and Peta Ryan said the first week of the pro­gram had been a “dream come true”.

“For about 18 months we’ve been ac­tively work­ing to­wards this, but you’d have to say five years it’s been on our agenda,” Mrs Ryan said.

“It still blew our minds last week, we knew it was go­ing to be amaz­ing, but see­ing the kids in­ter­act for the first time it was like ‘wow’,” Mrs Mot­tram said.

“It’s go­ing to be big­ger than we think, and the dif­fer­ence we can make I think is go­ing to be quite pro­found.”

Mrs Ryan said the ses­sions dif­fer from stu­dent to stu­dent with ac­tiv­i­ties rang­ing from groom­ing and feed­ing right through to rid­ing, de­pen­dant on the stu­dent-horse re­la­tion­ship. “We’re try­ing to use the horses to bring out el­e­ments of the stu­dents that they may not have oth­er­wise de­vel­oped,” she said.

“We use an ac­tiv­ity with the horse to build a con­fi­dence that the stu­dents can trans­fer to their

ev­ery­day life,” Mrs Mot­tram said.

The pro­gram has al­ready sparked the in­ter­est of other stu­dents, par­ents and teach­ers, and Mrs Ryan said she would ideally like to ex­pand the pro­gram to in­clude ses­sions for stu­dents across Man­jimup.

Pic­ture: Shan­non Boch­enek

Year 10 stu­dent William Boul­ton, of Pem­ber­ton, gets up close and per­sonal dur­ing his sec­ond ses­sion of Equine As­sisted Learn­ing. Will said he had al­ready learnt quiet a bit about how to com­mu­ni­cate with and around the horses.

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