Program helps build confidence
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.
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.