The special education class has 8 students, all of whom are on the autistic spectrum.
The students feed, walk and tend to Cleopatra each day at school. The children learn from this about responsibility.
Tony Dixon who teaches the class told The Press – Enterprise that the children are always taken care of and that now they have been given an opportunity to give care.
The idea for the students to care for Cleopatra was suggested by Jackie Gaskin who is an intensive behaviour intervention assistant in Tony Dixon’s class.
When she suggested the idea Tony Dixon told The Press – Enterprise
“It was an opportunity to enrich curriculum and I jumped on it,”
Brandon Coomes, one of the students in the class was initially afraid to even go near Cleopatra but now pets and cares for her.
Tony Dixon says in the article:
“In terms of real therapy, it does show. It’s really enriched our curriculum.”
Each school day at 1pm the students in the class visit the school farm to take Cleopatra for a walk. They then feed her and clean her stall.
Cleopatra’s is cared for with money earned through the students collecting recyclable waste and donations. Some parents even buy bags of feed.
Jackie Gaskin and her son who attends the school care for Cleopatra at the weekend and during holidays.
The full article by Craig Shultz in The Press – Enterprise can be read here