The SEL Blog
Taking SEL by the Reigns: Mitigating the Effects of Trauma Through an Equine Initiative uses the scientifically researched and supported practice of horses as healers to increase students' capacity for resilience through the five components of SEL: self awareness, self management, responsible decision making, relationship skills and social awareness. This initiative is a partnership between Hutchinson Schools and award winning Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) instructor Marsha Anderson and her premier accredited center, Equul Access Inc. Two established interventions in our school district are The REACH Program, a 6-12 academic intervention for "at risk" youth and the Family Liaison program and the students served by that program. These students have complex issues impacting their lives and learning including socioeconomic status, systemic racism, parent education level, language barriers, chemicals and/or family dysfunction and mental health. The pandemic has isolated already disengaged students from school and social supports. This isolation has delayed all students but has hit "at risk" students even harder. Socialization needed for emotional and intellectual development has been delayed creating a need for experiences that can help mitigate the impact of this isolation on students' academic progress and mental health. The students that could benefit from this initiative are the very ones least able to participate. Providing this access increases equitable educational experiences which are federally mandated, ethically supported and relationship building. Using regionally recognized Horses of the Year and CRITTER curriculum, students will Cultivate Respect, Integrity, Tolerance, Trust and Empathy in Relationships.