Cassius goes to school - ELF lessons: weeks 5&6
The sessions at the Brent based school are going great! Although the weather was atrocious the first week back after the Easter Half-Term break, not even the torrential downpours could dampen the children's or teaching staff's spirits! As the heavens opened, we had to seek shelter under the permanent canapé. Cassius wasn't too keen to depart from his grassy paddock in the school's playing field (which he thinks is his second home now). There were so many 'scary' things to walk past in the playground, like table tennis tables, climbing frames, benches etc., but we eventually made it under cover. And to his delight, there was a teacher with a bag of carrots waiting for him...he made a new BFF :)
Last Friday, we held our 6th Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) session last Friday, and I am so touched and blown away by the love, passion, support and excitement the children and teachers have shown us at the school so far. And it just keeps getting better and better...
The response to Cassius is amazing and the changes and progress the children are making is phenomenal! The benefits to the children encompass language development, communication, team working, expressing emotions, learning new skills like grooming etc., the list goes on...I feel truly blessed and so privileged to be part of these children's journey. I have witnessed a little girl forming a full sentence for the first time, saying "The horsey is soft." and spelling "H-O-R-S-E - Horse", followed by the biggest smile on her face when we cheered her on for her achievement. That moment was priceless to me!
Another little boy would come up to me, take my hand and walk me over to the pony, saying "Let's say hello to Cassius". We then decided on which brushes to use and gave Cassius a little groom, followed by having a go at picking out his hooves. He'd have a little giggle when the pony muzzled his hair, and then went on to tell me that 'today was his best day because he could come and see Cassius again'. No words needed...
There is a buzz in the air from the minute Cassius steps off the trailer...Every week Cassius and I are greeted with the excitement and inquisitiveness of the children, eager to learn more about the pony's needs. I love the variety of questions I'm being asked, ranging from "Does Cassius like Cheese Cake?" (LOL - my favourite) to "How do you know if Cassius is happy or sad?" and everything else in between...
It has been fantastic to watch some of the children transform from being frightened to be anywhere near the pony at all to now giving him gentle strokes and feeding him apples and carrots by hand. We also work each week through a brief little exercise in the booklet I designed and developed to accompany the 10-week course. Those exercises range from solving word puzzles using equestrian vocabulary, to quizzes and story writing. We've also been exploring the horse's senses, breeds, feeds and general care.
I'm learning so much each week, and working with these children is so rewarding. I think I have the best job in the world!
Watch out for our next update coming soon, until then...stay safe and have a wonderful week!