Benefits of Animal Therapy
The treatment of animals and their use as an educational and therapeutic means has been common in the education system in general and in Ben Shemen in particular since its establishment. Therefore the Village considers is very comfortable using animals for educational and therapeutic means, focusing on two particular aspects.
The first aspect deals with the attitude of compassion and sensitivity to animals and imparting the humane perception that it is our duty to give animals respect and fair treatment and provide them with appropriate protection and conditions while knowing their lifestyles and needs.
The second aspect deals with the special connection between children and animals. Experience and research point to the great benefit that can be derived from this connection and the possibility of imparting values, skills and life skills with the help of animals.
The relationship with animals helps develop empathy and personal responsibility, self-discipline, teamwork and reduces and prevents violence, and allows for addressing environmental and ecological issues that help preserve nature and the environment which are acquired through familiarity with animals, and the development of the students' life skills and other skills,
Animal therapy is based on the benefits of care and rehabilitation in the relationship between man and animal, and on the beneficial effects of this relationship on a wide range of adversities: mental, social and physical. The relationship with animals is a bridge to the relationship with the therapist as it gives the patient a non-threatening environment, facilitates his ability to trust the therapist and open up. Staying with and caring for animals provides the patient with experiences of warmth and touch, giving and nurturing related to primary emotional needs.
In the village petting zoo , meetings are held between therapists and students from the youngest to the twelfth graders - in two ways, first is one-on-one therapy and second group therapy such as when students from the boarding program visit the zoo as a social group or when students from the elementary or junior high school participate in a variety of activities within the zoo.