Outdoor play and Pet therapy

The teaching method of Benedetto XV international school of Grottaferrata pays great attention to two specific educational choices: outdoor play and Pet therapy. The outdoor play or free play, offers the children, the opportunity to give free rein to their natural dynamism outside the rigid boundaries of their homes.

Running, jumping, unloading playing in a different and unusual context, but healthy and safe at the same time, ensure children to an healthy growth. Getting in touch with nature, learning to appreciate the simple elements that it offers: water, earth, wood, is part of a process of exploration and understanding of this world. Furthermore, playing in the open air stimulates socialization and group play, encouraging self-esteem’s growth and at the same time strengthening the immune system.

Children learn to recognize seasonal differences: colours, scents and new sounds able to stimulate sensorial and perceptive skills through the various nuances of the different months of the year.

The outdor play tends to follow nature changes, allowing children to play in a more relaxed way that helps to improve theirs concentrations skills. A natural integration of the outdoor play is the choice to let children get closer to the animal world.

The Pet Therapy, a term coined in the 60’s by the American child psychiatrist Boris Levinson, is a gentle therapy that aims, through the interaction between humans and animals, to complement and enhance the traditional therapies.

At our school the relationship is between the animal and the child, encouraged to create a bond that through new games, stimulates children’s interest and sociality.

Animals do not judge or discriminate but they give themselves totally to the children, thus favoring their social skills and self-esteem.

Children learn what it means to take care of an animal, as well as they learn a different language and a different way to relate to the ‘different’, helping to accept differences. Looking after an animal helps against anxiety and stress, but mostly conveys emotional warmth.

The bond between the child and the animal allow the use of the Pet therapy in both therapeutic and recreational areas, and thanks to the physical and psychological benefits it entails, is recommended from a very young age.


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