Monty the school dog
For a number of months we have discussing the benefits of a school dog. Over the summer, Monty a cockerpoo joined Mr Garratt's family and has been busy learning lots of things so that he is ready to come into school.
There are a number of school dogs already in post locally and around the country. I am sure you will agree that this is an exciting opportunity for the school, but may have some questions. Outlined below is some more information about having a school dog.
What are the benefits of a school dog?
· A calming effect on pupils, particularly those with behavioural or learning difficulties
· Encouraging expression and participation in more withdrawn children
· Fostering a sense of responsibility
· Improved behaviour, attendance and concentration, reduced stress and improved self- esteem
· Motivating pupils to think and to learn, as most children have a high level of natural interest in, enthusiasm for, and enjoyment of animals
· Encouraging respect and thereby improving pupils’ relationships with each other, parents and teachers
· Teaching children to nurture and respect life
· Helping work undertaken with the most vulnerable children, and educational improvements with lower achievers
· Helping children build confidence in reading – http://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/feb/28/dogs-listen-to-children-reading
How will the school plan for this?
· A full risk assessment and policy will be written.
· Consent will be sought for each child to have contact with Monty.
· All contact with children will be carefully planned and children will not be left unsupervised with Monty.
· When not working, Monty will be based in one of the school offices.
What about allergies?
· Monty is a cockapoo (a mix of a cocker spaniel and a poodel). The poodle element means that he has low allergy and non shedding qualities.
· All areas of the school are vacuumed and surfaces are wiped down daily.
· Movement around the school will be controlled in a similar way to Flopsy, the school rabbit.
· Any child working with Monty will wash their hands and use a lint roller before returning to class.
· A full management plan is being introduced regarding allergies.
What other schools have school dogs?
· Locally, St Stephen’s Infants and Whitstable Juniors have resident school dogs. Herne Infants has a regularly visiting therapy dog.
· Around the country there are many schools who have their own school dog including Hope Primary, who have recently set up their own ‘dog blog’, which contains a very good video explaining the benefits: http://dexter-hopeprimary.tumblr.com
How can I follow Monty's progress?
· Monty has his own blog, where you can find out what he has been up to. Click on the link to the right to see his 'dog blog'.
· Follow Monty's progress on twitter: @Montyschdog