Animals are an inseparable part of our lives. Whether one loves them or fears them, helps them, or hurts them, children cannot feel indifferent to them. The contact with animals enables easy and intuitive communication that relies on emotions, body language, voice, and physical contact – communication that does not need the mediation of words and contributes immensely to the development of sensitivity to the other and the understanding of his needs.
The contact of a child with an animal enables him to express a variety of emotions. The ability of the child to give of himself – and also to enjoy the unconditional love that the animal gives back – contributes to his development, builds his self-confidence, and improves his sensitivity for absorbing emotional signs (love, anger, trust, and more). The connection with the animal can create a general pattern that will extend to the child’s connection with other children and people in general.
At ELIYA we set the goals of the therapeutic work according to the needs of the children in the group, and after the initial acquaintanceship stage, we set more detailed therapeutic goals for the children.
The children face challenging assignments that sometimes require courage and determination: reaching out to the unknown – what will the child find there? A bowl of water with a vibrating and cold fish or maybe a soft and furry rabbit? Different animals have different body textures, different odors, and even different sounds and voices.
The children learn about their other senses and improve and exercise then. Each encounter is accompanied by songs, a story and if possible, also movement.