At The Children’s Ranch, most of our students do not ride, but focus instead on animal caretaking. We try our best to tailor our programs to the needs of each individual. Our current program offerings are below.
Private Ranch Lessons
We begin by teaching students to care for the Ranch’s animals, including rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs and horses. Activities include grooming, mucking, feeding, leading, lunging, joining up, bathing, socializing and, when appropriate, occasionally riding. Students learn the intricacies of how prey animals feel, and how they respond to their human caretakers and the environment, building a relationship that feels safe and connected. As students learn to navigate these sensitive creatures, they often learn to express their own feelings. Kids focus on becoming expert animal caretakers. By learning to care for other creatures – large and small – students develop a sense of identity and belonging to a community, and experience a sense of meaning through purposeful work. Individualized 45-minute session; offered weekdays after school.
Assisted Private Ranch Lessons
For students who need extra staff to support them in safely and meaningfully interacting with our animals, we offer Assisted Private Ranch Lessons. Individualized 45-minute session; offered weekdays after school.
“Ranch Hands” is designed for kids who are ready to focus on giving back to the animals at the Ranch. Kids learn how to work as a group to care for our Ranch animals. Favorite activities include grooming, mucking, bathing, lunging, and joining up with the horses. We also socialize the rabbits and chickens and prepare special treats for all of the animals. Parents are invited to attend a parent workshop during the first hour of the group – to gain insight into the tools and strategies that the children learn at the Ranch. 2-hour session; offered one Saturday a month, from 2-4pm.
**Students must be evaluated for readiness to participate in Ranch Hands group, showing an ability to join a group without one-on-one supervision, and mastery of basic horsemanship skills taught in Private Ranch Lessons.
Sibling Group & Parent Workshop
The Ranch Sibling Group provides a safe space for the siblings of kids with special needs who know what it’s like to have a sister or brother who often requires a great deal of the family’s attention and focus. Siblings appreciate the chance to share their experiences and learn tools of their own. While caring for the Ranch’s animals, siblings build relationships with other siblings through a variety of activities and discussions. Parents are invited to attend a Parent Workshop inside during the first hour of group to learn more about the tools the kids are learning at the Ranch. 2-hour session; offered one Sunday a month from 10:15 – 12:15pm.