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Animal Assisted Learning / Play Therapy / Wholehearted Horsemanship

The playing adult steps side-ward into another reality; the playing child advances forward to new stages of mastery.

-Erik Erikson

Children and animals learn best through play. Play develops strong bonds, healthy attachments, builds empathy, and kindness, increases self awareness, and improves the child’s ability to identify somatic, emotional and physical needs while developing clear communication. Systematic playful activities with the goal of improving children’s developmental, and psycho-social health, and ensuring the animal’s well-being are key to successful outcomes.

Creating an emotionally safe climate allows for self-exploration, self-acceptance, learning, and skill development. Our nature environment of 28 acres with rolling meadows, and forest trails contributes to a playful atmosphere, and engages children’s creative imaginations. Our animal partners include ponies, dwarf goats, a rescue pig, and a very playful Bernese puppy.

Outcomes of healthy connections between children and animals:

  • Decreasing anxiety

  • Developing trust

  • Fostering healthy attachments

  • Increasing openness

  • Adding emotional safety

  • Improving motivation

  • Developing cognitive, emotional, physical, and social competencies

  • Enhance self confidence

  • Enhance self regulation

  • Improve Focus, attentiveness, and observation

Sessions are one hour.  Fee is $100. A discount is offered for multiple sessions.

Michelle Atterby, MA (s), environmental educator, professional certifications: level 1 animal assisted play therapist, equine assisted learning educator, body-mind therapist, animals behaviourist & trainer. With almost twenty years educating, and facilitating animal assisted learning programs for youth and adults. Michelle resides in the Cowichan valley on her farm with 13 horses, 4 goats, a rescued pig named Hoover, and a Bernese puppy named Rylee.

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