We strongly believe in the therapeutic and educational benefits of animals and therefore we have several animals at Young Friends that the children learn to take care of. They brush them, feed them, bath them (in the summer), talk to them, stroke and just hang out with them. Often the animals are what settles a new child into the nursery at the beginning of their time with us or at the start of each day. Or perhaps when they are upset or worried about something.
We have domestic pets who are living a life of luxury and wild animals at the plot. Children learn what each needs and why we need them. Our domestic pets all love children as they are handled daily by the children and staff. Children are included in all aspects of their care.
The advantages for the children are crystal clear. Being with friendly animals is calming, often therapuetic and good for confidence and well-being. Pets give unconditional love and will not answer back – or take your toys! This relaxed atmospher that they create gives children a safe space to express themselves, think or talk. Pets teach empathy, confidence and responsibility and can help children to socialise and develop their verbal skills.