Grade 3 and 4 students in Sylvan Lake have been getting a unique learning experience over the past few weeks, thanks to Ley-Anne Mountain and her rabbits.
Mountain, a natural health practitioner who lives just outside of Innisfail, has been using her rabbits, Apollo and Ron, to teach Grade 3 and 5 students at Steffie Woima, C.P. Blakely and Beacon Hill about health.
She says the program is inspired by her experience connecting with her horse when she was a teenager.
“We were going through some pretty hard times, and my horse helped me reconnect and became, really, my best friend,” Mountain explained.
She has been working with students for about seven years, sharing her tools to stay stable and connected, using her bunnies as a way for the young kids to connect and understand.
On the first day with the students, Mountain goes over what a bunny needs to feel happy and safe. Those same things a bunny needs are what people needs as well, she says.
“A bunny needs a home, love, food, water and security just like we all do,” said Mountain.
Throughout the six week program, Mountain is giving the students tools to use when times are tough. There are four tools for the students to work with; the heart, which is the basic needs everyone needs; the belly balloon, students are taught to breathe in the good, and while exhaling, to let go of the bad; the butterfly button, which is a reflexology spot found on the foot; and the toe turtle, which helps to ground a person when things are a little hectic.
According to Mountain, these tools can help students handle the messy things life throws at them, and is an easy way for parents to help.
“If there is a tantrum, I say honour the tantrum let it happen, but when things are coming down a bit ask your kid to think of the toe turtle or the belly balloon which can help turn a 13 minute tantrum into a 10 minute tantrum,” Mountain said.
The tools given to students are ones Mountain hopes will be passed along to parents as well.
She says they are a valuable way to reconnect and centre oneself.
“The combination of animals supporting us, and nature supporting us, especially in today’s times with technology, is my passion – connecting kids with real life,” said Mountain.
The kids have been really connecting and enjoying the sessions with Mountain. Anne Frey, the principal from C.P. Blakely says the students have been enjoying their time with Mountain and love working with the rabbits.
“We have really enjoyed having Lee-Anne in our schools, and the kids have been responding well,” said Frey.
Mountain will continue to work with the students at C.P. Blakely and Steffie Woima for the next two weeks. The students at Beacon Hill have another four sessions with Mountain before the Christmas break.