The Children’s Ranch is an extra-curricular animal care-taking program for kids with learning, social/emotional and developmental challenges. We are a community program based on the benefits of learning to care for prey animals. Our lessons are taught by community instructors and assistants, in consultation with the rest of our Ranch team (including consultants in occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, and special education). Together, we design a program that fits the unique needs of each student.
We do not do much horseback riding at The Children’s Ranch. Instead, we focus on teaching students to care for the Ranch’s animals, including rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs and horses. Students learn to become expert care-takers. Activities include grooming, mucking, feeding, leading, bathing, socializing and more.
At The Children’s Ranch, our focus is on emotions. We use the animal setting to build awareness of emotions (both in our prey animals and ourselves), creating a common language that the entire family can use.
Taking care of animals is purposeful work that requires a dedicated team. By working together, students develop a sense of identity within and belonging to the Ranch community.
In our warm, community setting, we help students develop important life skills including:
1. organization and flexibility,
2. emotional intelligence, awareness and expression,
3. awareness of behaviors and their effect on others,
4. encouraging empathy, and
5. identity within and sense of belonging to a group.