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Equine Program to Promote Academic Engagement

November 27, 2018


Students from Middletown’s Macdonough Elementary School began participating in a weekly after school program at Manes & Motions last fall. Students take part in a therapeutic riding, unmounted learning and a reading program called Books with Bella. The program focuses on increasing academic engagement, building self-confidence, and reinforcing key life skills.  Weekly themes center around learning compassionate horsemanship and developing key competencies such as problem solving, communication, and acceptance of self and others.

“Parents report their children are happier and less stressed, and feel like little experts about horses around their friends,” said Liz Waszkiewicz, Macdonough school social worker.  “This shows improvements in confidence, sense of purpose and adequacy.”

“It warms my heart to see the excitement children come with each week when they come to spend time with the horses,” said Jeanna Pellino, Manes & Motions Program Coordinator. “Students are attentive to the planned activities and gentle and respectful with the horses and their peers.”

This program demonstrates the success of public–private partnerships to support academic success.  The program received support from Middletown Youth Services Bureau Educational Incentive Challenge Grant, and the Northern Middlesex YMCA.

For more information on programs like these contact Jeanna Pellino at 860-685-0008.


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