Animal programs

Eastbourne Primary School explores pet therapy with llamas and chickens

The Parkland Federation at Hampden Park, made up of the nursery and primary school, is home to two llamas, chickens and ducks.

The school celebrated the second birthdays of Lamas Luna and Star.

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Lisa Taylor, animal coordinator, said the pair had been at the school for a year and were cared for by staff and students throughout the year.

Animal therapy at Parkland School (photo by Jon Rigby)

She said the school has had chickens and ducks for a number of years, with hatching programs resulting in up to 11 chickens and 14 ducks.

It was Lisa who joked about having llamas, only to have the idea come true after some research. The llamas live in stables on site.

She said, “I said jokingly ‘can we have llamas? and after much research, it was a yes!

Each year, one group participates in animal care sessions as well as the option of after-school clubs.

The Parkland School Federation (photo by Jon Rigby)

Lisa said: ‘It gives kids responsibility and the animals reach out to kids in a way that other things can’t.

“Animals bond with children.

“Kids can get out and walk the llamas and it has a positive impact on their lessons as well.”

Students can clean the llamas, feed them, groom them and walk them, which also gives them a sense of responsibility.

She said, “We can’t go bigger than the llamas, but I’d like the donkeys.”

Lisa said the school has four staff who are trained in beekeeping because they are aware of the importance it has for the environment and is part of their curriculum.

The school also has an eco-committee made up of children of all grades and adults who work to educate students about the importance of the environment and sustainability. The group will pick up litter in the area and plant wildflowers.

Nine-year-old Oscar is on the eco-committee and said one of his jobs is to clean the stables and collect llama manure. The children can then make fertilizer which is put on the flowers on the spot.

Lilia, from grade 6, said, “I joined the club after school to get closer to the animals and take care of them. My favorite part is walking them.

Parkland staff member Jo Hollobone said: “It’s really good for the kids – it has a really calming effect on students in every class. Llamas also like to be around children.

She said all year bands love animals and have seen “such a change” in the kids since the llamas arrived.

Keep Britain Tidy runs the environmental education program for the world’s largest schools – Eco-Schools.

More than 2.3 million children and young people actively participate in the Eco-Schools programme. It aims to give children the chance to discover the environment and the role they can play in improving it. Find out more on the Keep Britain Tidy website.

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