Ponies work their magic on Victoria Point’s Kindergym kids - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views

Photo: Supplied.


On Tuesday, April 9, we invited “Magical Ponies” to visit us at YMCA Victoria Point to celebrate the farm theme in Kindergym. We offered unlimited pony rides for a gold coin donation. This was a great success for our little students from both the swim school and gymnastics.

Hazel is three years old and lives with ASD. She has been a student in the YMCA’s Kindergym program for about two years and has just progressed to Gym Kids (first level without Mum). Hazel has difficulty in group sessions and gets quite anxious and requires time and patience to separate from her Mum and engage in our Kindergym activities. Miss Lou, the Kindergym leader, and Miss Laura, assistant coach, have been amazing with her. Hazel will now hold Lou and Laura’s hands and say goodbye to Mum at the gate, participating in the class independently.

The commitment and patience that our Kindergym coaches have demonstrated with Hazel is really what we celebrate – their dedication to making our Kindergym program all-inclusive is remarkable.

Children living with ASD have fixations and hyperfocus, and Hazel’s (would you believe) are unicorns and horses, and Hazel wants to be a farmer when she grows up.

Upon the arrival of the ponies, Hazel was excited and keen to pat and engage with them. She climbed up and enjoyed her pony rides. The most amazing shift came over Hazel – she was calm, independent and happy to be guided around by the pony handler, without even a thought of Mum needing to be close by.

The pony visit continues to have a remarkable effect on Hazel’s progress at her Kindergym class, with her return to her Gym Kids class on Tuesday morning. For the first time, Mum watched with pride as Hazel ran to another little girl, Georgia, in her class and said, “I saw the ponies. Did you see the ponies?”. It is difficult to explain how important this interaction with her new little friend is and how much this meant to our Kindergym coaches and Hazel’s Mum; one of the most difficult things Hazel struggles with is engaging and socialising with children without adult assistance.

We often have meetings with our Y leaders to discuss and evaluate the importance of what we do every day, and I believe it is moments like this that we need to celebrate. The most important part of our Victoria Point team meetings is reminding each other to “be stubborn about your goals and be flexible about your methods,” and this is definitely what our coaches have done. I could not be more proud of both ladies.

The Y at Victoria Point will continue to think outside the box with holiday activities, the goal being to create memories and experiences for all of our students.

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