Animal-assisted pedagogy

When there are no words


"Taking care of the animal activates the taking care of myself."

Supporting emotional stabilisation and personal development

For a child or young person, healing from traumatic injuries can be a real challenge. We want to support children and young people on this difficult path. This is why we have set up specific pedagogical and/or therapeutic support services for children and young people in residential care at SOS Children's Village Luxembourg.

The Children's Village in Mersch also has horses, donkeys and cows. A large, walkable and partially covered paddock provides a suitable living space for the small animals. A varied learning area is available to children. Many of the animals come to us from animal welfare organisations and find a new home with us. Their life course is similar to that of children and invites them to identify with a vulnerable being. This is an important key on the path to self-healing.

Professional guidance of a learning process, through experience and self-reflection, provides children with an important developmental aid. The non-verbal communication with the animal puts the child in direct connection with his or her own feelings. The experience of positive relationships as well as moments of success contribute to emotional stabilisation and strengthen the child's ability to form personal and social attachments.


Targeted activities in animal-assisted pedagogy

Through hands-on coaching, model learning and self-awareness, children can receive important developmental impulses in individual interactions or small group situations. In addition to experiencing many happy moments, the promotion of social and psychomotor skills, positive self-efficacy/empowerment and help in healing past mental wounds are the main objectives of this offer.

At least once a week, the child and the animal meet in a structured setting under the responsibility of a person trained in animal assisted pedagogy.

"Only a relaxed person is a healthy person" (Chinese proverb).

It can be clearly stated that children are perceived as more "relaxed" by their environment directly after the interaction with the animal. At the same time, numerous studies in the fields of neurobiology and psychology deal with the positive effects of the human-animal relationship.


Small animal educational enclosure, a judgment-free zone

A large, accessible and partially covered outdoor enclosure provides a suitable habitat for rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and parakeets, and is thus a versatile experimental area for the human-animal relationship. Targeted interactions with children, assisted by the animals, can be carried out in the enclosure. A comfortable sitting area and the natural atmosphere invite you to spend some relaxing time.


Animal-assisted support measures in vocational training and life skills

In addition to other craft content, the focus is on feeding the animals and maintaining the infrastructure. The highly ritualised feeding procedure, which must be oriented to the herd hierarchy, is a model for training in compliance with the rules and in the proper management of hierarchies.

The management of the pastures and the care of the stables specifically promote physical and intellectual skills. Working in the fresh air has a beneficial effect on the body and mood.