Our School Dog
Hello everyone - meet our new school dog Milo! Milo is very slowly going to be introduced to the school environment and priority will always be given to the safety and well-being of pupils and staff, as well as the dog. Milo will also be kept on a lead, until fully trained, when moving around the school and will be under the full control and supervision of an adult.
Where did this idea originate?
The value of pet therapy is widely accepted as a powerful aid to communication and motivation. Research has shown that companion dogs can improve the well-being of children, reducing their anxiety levels by making any environment, but in this case, our school environment a happier and more enjoyable place to be. Dogs can be a great comfort to children who are upset in any way and in need of calm, consolation, comfort, or distraction before being able to communicate with an adult abut the nature of their distress. Children therefore can benefit educationally and emotionally from a school dog. A dog can motivate and encourage participation, increase understanding or responsibility, develop empathy and nurturing skills and improve both behaviour and self-esteem.
We are always searching for methods to support children holistically. There are lots of literature about the benefits of having a dog in school. A large plethora of head teachers both locally and nationally have dogs in school for various purposes and have spoken about the idea, with wellbeing and mental health as a key area for us to develop in the coming months and years as a result of Covid-19.
There are differing layers to the possibilities of a dog in school, simply as a companion, as a reading dog, or as a therapy dog.
What are the benefits of having a school/reading/therapy dog?
- A calming effect on pupils, particularly those with behavioural or learning difficulties and/or special educational needs;
- Fosters a sense of responsibility in children;
- Improved behaviour, concentration and attendance;
- Increased exercise and movement if they participate in dog walking activities;
- Reduced stress and improved self-esteem;
- Encourages respect and therefore improves pupil's relationships with each other, parents and teachers;
- Teaches children to nurture and respect life;
- Helps work undertaken with the most vulnerable children and educational improvements with 'lower achievers';
- Helps children build confidence with reading and speaking.
- The dog is a short/curly haired hypoallergenic breed, which does not shed
- The school is vaccumed and cleaned daily and the dog would be based in the leadership offices, so these areas would be given particular attention
- The dog will not be allowed to roam the school freely
- Children will wash their hands before and after working with the dog
- Children with an allergy will not go near the dog
Keep your eyes peeled in the next academic year to see more of Milo around the school and in the playground!