TEA 3rd-Grade Students Learn About Social Emotional Well-Being Through Horse Assisted Education

We have all been through and are still navigating unprecedented times with the pandemic. For that reason, social emotional well-being is more important than ever before for everyone, especially our young students.

To start this new year, our 3rd-grade students in particular kicked things off with a multi-week project that focused on emotional well being. Our students, alongside their Crew Leader Ms. Colleen looked deeper into getting to know themselves and their emotional health. As we all know, emotions can be messy. Throughout this social emotional learning (SEL) project the students learned how to identify complex emotions, specific strategies to help themselves when feeling certain emotions, as well as how they can communicate their emotions in healthy ways. In addition, they learned how to determine their role within their crew and deepen their understanding of how they fit together as a crew.

To help deepen this learning and build crew Ms. Colleen and our 3rd-Grade students traveled to EQ Insight in Washoe Valley for an overnight experience. EQ Insight was founded by TEA Grandparent Melinda Blackwell in 2009 to train modern leaders and teach teamwork in a dynamic world driven by a culture of technology. EQ Insight’s mission is to use horse-led training to build authentic and effective leaders and team-members, so they can make a positive impact in their businesses, communities, and families.

EQ Insights Founder (& TEA Grandparent!) Melinda Blackwell helping one of our 3rd-Graders get to know Buttercup the horse.

The following were learning targets for this SEL project were reinforced during their experience at EQ Insight:

– What do I know about myself and how do I treat myself?
– How can I manage my emotions and lift myself up?
– What do I know about my crew mates and how I communicate with them?
– How can I support my crew mates and lift them up when they need it?
– How are we a crew and how do we work together to solve problems and handle adversity?


As you can see from the photos, our students had an absolute blast! Here are a few insights from the students themselves:


“I learned that with animals, especially horses like Buttercup, you can’t hide your fears. I’ve always thought that you can’t be afraid around horses and that’s not true. You need to let the horses know that you are afraid and you’d like for them to be gentle with you.”

“We had to learn how the different animals communicate with humans because they can’t talk! This was really important with Joey the Llama. When his ears go back it’s time to give him space or you might get spit on!”

Joey's ears are back...better stay back!

Laird Blackwell, TEA Grandparent & Former TEA Faculty Member swapping stories with the 3rd-graders

Scenes from around the farm!

A very special thank you to Melinda and Laird Blackwell for hosting our students! EQ Insight is one magical place!