The Children’s Ranch is an extra-curricular animal caretaking program for kids, teens and young adults with developmental, social/emotional and learning challenges. We are a community program based on the benefits of learning to care for prey animals. Our program was designed by a team of dedicated women, including consultants in occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, and special education. Our lessons are taught by community instructors and assistants, working to address the unique needs of each student.
We do not ride horses at The Children’s Ranch. Instead, we focus on teaching students to care for the Ranch’s animals, including horses, rabbits, chickens, and guinea pigs. Students learn to become expert caretakers. 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.