South Eastern School District
October 21, 2015
I had the opportunity to visit with our SEMS students who are participating in equine therapy at http://equiteam.org/ in Dallastown once a week for an hour.
It was truly a remarkable experience. The word of the session was “FOCUS”. The students began the session by compiling a list on a white board of phrases and thoughts about focus. Words and phrases like “mindfulness” and “attention”, time of the day, “early but not too early...I need to wake up first” and my personal favorite, “I have more focus when we are doing something I care about and can use later”. The students also worked as a team on a task with specific instructions. Sitting there in an observer role I noticed students focus on the task, supportive of each other, attention to the horses, their environment and the other students. The best part of the session for me was when the students debriefed the activity together. One student pointed out that the horses are no longer “acting up” or “Playing”. Another student quickly said, “We are not paying attention to them so they probably got bored.” What a great teachable moment for these students who are at times attention seeking themselves in class. Using the animals to explain a social situation that many students struggle with was fantastic. The session ended with some individual reflection by students. Again, I was amazed by the level of participation. All students were writing and thinking about what they just participated in, and I am sure they can’t wait to come back next week. The program is scheduled to run for 2 more weeks and our hope is for it to continue in the spring and beyond.
What Students Are Saying
- Fun, it’s a lot of fun!
- I love animals and being outside, I guess we learn stuff, too!
- I like it.
What Teachers Are Saying
- Real-life connections to behavioral concerns
- Seeing a difference between the students behavior at the beginning of the year to now
- Promotes students to work together and experience adventures they may not have otherwise had.