At Wilds Lodge we are fortunate to be situated in the beautiful countryside of Rutland in approximately 22 acres of land between the two sites of Crossroads and Wilds Lodge. Since we opened in 2007 we have been developing our therapeutic approach to consider ways in which the natural environment and animals can help to support young people to combat personal challenges through building on positive relationships and learning to create positive emotions. On this site we have sheep, pigs, goats, peacocks, geese and ducks.
“The buildings and the ground are extremely impressive and scrupulously clean”
Ofsted, January 2017
We meet the needs of a range of children and young people including those with autism, challenging behaviours, ADHD, social emotional and mental health difficulties and trauma. Time in this part of our provision is individualised and takes into account the student’s current timetable of education supporting the educational provision and not replacing it.
At Crossroads, away from the school area we have a range of facilities including three stables, a small animal area, two pig areas and four paddock areas. The animals on the Crossroads site include pigs, llamas, horses, ponies, donkeys, rabbits and a cat. We also have a regular visit from Max who is the yard dog who has a range of experience in his previous life as a therapy dog.
“The work by staff to engage the pupils in their learning is very good. Staff accompany pupils horse-riding…Consequently, pupils learn to stay engaged on a task for a sustained amount of time”
Ofsted, January 2017
Our focus is to offer a different programme of education to support and enrich the curriculum already in place at Wilds Lodge. This is to be delivered to a range of learners from 5-19 as required. We are working on engagement and the development of communication, interaction, confidence, self-esteem, independence and the development of positive relationships with staff, peers and animals.
Outdoor practical activities, including horse based and animal interaction and forest activities are used to engage and assist our learners. The use of innovative learning routes, developing skills in animal care and horse care, ground work and riding will help to develop a wide range of skills which can then be taken forwards to use in a range of different situations and environments. We believe that this approach will help to build upon and enhance:
AQA unit awards are offered as well as recognised qualifications in horse riding.
Therapeutic Horse Riding and Animal Interaction
This approach is a benefit to learners in a therapeutic environment and helps them to build up experiences and help them to overcome their own difficulties. It can be used to help to support and reintegrate individuals into education. Horse riding is currently offsite whilst a new arena is being created.
The sessions are a route to understanding themselves, their own body language and look at the energy they are portraying and consider how that energy can affect themselves and others around them. These sessions can help to develop many of the core skills/areas outlined above. Learners can work with a range of animals including rabbits, dogs, horses, llamas, pigs, donkeys, ponies and horses. Sessions are individualised and tailored to the learners.