Animals have so much to teach, and nature is a perfect classroom to educate children about themselves and the world around them. While brushing cows, feeding horses, cuddling turkeys, holding chickens, petting goats and sheep, giving pigs tummy rubs, and hearing the animals’ stories of resilience, children in grades k-12 will learn about body language, compassion, confidence, tolerance, and find themselves in the barnyard. We will explore what animals eat, how they play, where they sleep, and the many different ways animals use to communicate. All field trips start with a short presentation about the animals, ending with making wishes at our wishing well, and are geared to empower kids to be heroes in their own neighborhoods for animals, nature, and other people.
Need a hug? Feeling sad, lonely, stressed out and scared from the last year? Come heal with us! Get hugs and unconditional love from our therapy cows. Meditate with them, hug them, and let them reassure you, fill you up, and love you. Put your worries down and leave renewed. We and the cows are here for you.
Our animal-assisted therapy program is a 10-month program, running from September through June, for children and adults. When one has a challenge with mobility, speech, or confidence, traditional therapy can sometimes be challenging, boring, frustrating, embarrassing, and painful. At The Gentle Barn we offer opportunities to practice vocal skills, motor skills, and confidence while brushing cows, leading horses, holding chickens, petting goats and sheep, walking dogs, giving tummy rubs to pigs, and doing projects in the barnyard. Participants want to be here among our animals, and they join, unaware of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits. They are lost in the moment, making new friends, and enjoying their time without focusing on their challenges. Alongside our animal ambassadors, we have helped thousands of people improve their lives, self-esteem, and connection to others.
The Peace Enhancement program is a 10-month program, running from September through June, for children and adults from drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, probation camps, foster agencies, domestic violence centers, senior centers, war veteran centers, homeless shelters, burn centers, children hospitals, those with special needs, children from the inner city, and much more. Over the course of ten months, our guests find themselves in the barnyard by planting vegetable gardens to connect with nature, walking horses to practice leadership skills, interacting with smaller animals to practice empathy, hugging cows to practice vulnerability, doing projects at the barn to feel value, taking nature walks to talk about resilience, helping heal newly rescued animals to feel a sense of purpose, and making wishes at our wishing well to cultivate self-awareness and hope for the future. Through the stories of the animals the guests know they are not alone, through the interaction with the animals they learn that they too can find family and hope, and through our activities, they find value and self-worth in the community. They leave our facility with their heads held high, hearts wide open; kinder, gentler, more responsible, and more valuable citizens.
When kids are struggling at home and at school, homework can fall behind. When a child falls behind in reading and their grades suffer, that child is less inclined to participate, read out loud, or try. This snowball effect can leave a child doing more and more poorly at school. When a child is already falling behind, he/she is less motivated to read out loud in the classroom, or in front of others and can feel embarrassed and defeated. Reading out loud to animals at The Gentle Barn is one of the ways we gain the trust of new animals and heal older ones. When we invite kids to read out loud to our animals, they are reading to a very receptive and non-judgmental audience, they are motivated because they want to be there, and they can feel good about themselves that they are helping to breathe the life back into an animal who really needs them, strengthening their reading and self-esteem at the same time. We host private sessions for children in grades k-12 who need practice reading, or for any animal-loving child who just wants to practice reading in a happy place! We have books available, or they can bring their schoolbooks with them.
In this two-hour tour you’ll have the barnyard to yourself while with the help of your tour guide, you’ll brush cows, feed horses(CA & TN Only), cuddle turkeys, hold chickens, pet goats, and sheep, give pigs tummy rubs, meet our llamas(CA Only), and emu(CA Only), and hear the animals’ stories of resilience. Being at The Gentle Barn is like walking through a giant storybook and falling in love with animals more deeply than ever before. If you love animals, you will love coming to The Gentle Barn with your friends and family, as a birthday gift, a really cool date, or just treat yourself to the best self-care day ever!