On Monday 22nd January, I had my assessment with Jenny from the DogMentor programme. I passed with flying colours!
My role as a school dog will be challenging and varied, but I feel that I am more than up to the task. I love being around people and making them happy. Numerous research studies have shown the benefits of dogs in schools and evidence indicates that areas of potential benefits include:
· Cognitive development – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving, game-playing and can improve reading skills.
· Emotional development – a school dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others and lifts mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieving anxiety.
· Physical development – interaction with a pet reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses.
· Environmental benefits – a dog in a school contributes towards the creation of a home-style environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.
· Social benefits – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing, developing social skills and focused interaction with others.
But what will my role as dog mentor at Kempshott entail during school hours?
I will have an interesting and ever-changing job. At the moment, I am learning how to greet people and where and when I can play. I am spending a lot of time in the office and with Miss O'Neill whilst I am introduced to school life slowly. Over time, I will work as a Dog Mentor and will follow planned sessions with individual children or small groups of children as needed. I am also very excited about hearing children read. Sometimes, I may join a class for a lesson or two if it will enrich the experience in some way.
I plan on keeping my section of the website up-to-date with comments and photographs documenting my time in school. If you have any further questions regarding my role within the school, please contact Miss O'Neill via the school office.