At The ACES, we have a unique opportunity to provide animal therapy, human/animal interactions, and first hand learning in our animal education programs. We have a collection of miniature farm animals, that include dwarf rabbits, domestic poultry, miniature horses, pigs and goats, as well as a miniature donkey. The students are able to observe pigmy goats shortly after birth, and watch their development with Mom over the next year. In past years baby pot-belly pigs were bottle raised in the classroom, with the teacher playing the role as Mom, and the students as brother and sister! Various exotic reptiles live at the school such as bearded dragons, Leopard geckos and tortoises. A family of chinchillas call The ACES home too.
Every year, our students observe the growth & development of young geese, ducks, chickens, turkeys and pigeons that hatch here at the school. Many of these birds are top notch show quality. The best birds each year have been selected and shown at the Arizona State Fair for over 10 years now, winning over 100 blue ribbons. A pair of emus, reside at The ACES. They are the world’s second largest bird, and they too rear young here. Dad sits on the huge green eggs for 2 months!
All of our students have access to the animal collection, and animals are brought to each ACES campus, on a weekly basis. The natural history of about 20 species of animals, including reptiles, birds, amphibians, invertebrates and small mammals, are brought into the classroom each year. Some students in our “Jump Start program” in Peoria, are part of an “Animal Care Class” where they are directly involved in the care of the animals each semester, and learn animal husbandry first hand. Students enjoy the time they get to spend grooming and walking our miniature horses and donkey year round. During the cooler months in winter, many of our students go on rides in a miniature horse cart pulled by either Hersey or Oreo!
Students at the ACES can experience empathy and learn compassion through the human/animal bond.