Meet Mabel, our beautiful school dog. She joined us in October 2019 and is not only extremely popular with pupils, staff and all visitors, but has a tremendously positive impact on life in our school.
Why do we have a school dog?
Here are just a few reasons and explanations as to why Mabel is such a benefit to the pupils in our school.
- Cognitive development – building a companionship with a dog helps children stimulate their memory, problem-solving and game-playing skills. Having a school dog is known to increase enthusiasm for, and enjoyment of animals, which motivates children to think and learn.
- Social skills – dogs provide a mutual topic for conversation with others, and encourage responsibility, wellbeing and focussed interaction with others.
- Emotional skills – dogs improve self-esteem, acceptance from others and are known for improving moods. Dogs can also help children develop compassion and respect for other living things and can reduce children’s anxiety. Building respect can improve children’s relationships with each other, parents and teachers and shows them how to nurture and care for another living thing. If any children are suffering from bereavement or are particularly sad, dogs can provide children with comfort and friendship.
- Physical development – interaction with dogs is known to reduce blood pressure, provide tactile stimulation, assist with pain management and give motivation for children to move and walk.
- Reading – school dogs are known to help children with their reading and literacy skills, through their calming presence and ability to listen to children read without being judgemental or critical. Children can build their confidence to read aloud to others through having a school dog.
- Transition into school - sometimes children find the separation from parents difficult, the dog can provide a soothing distraction and source of comfort and happiness, which can make that separation easier over time
- School community – having a school dog builds the sense of a family environment and togetherness.
Mabel is our school dog, although she does belong to Mrs Lewis, who brings her to school in the morning and takes her home at the end of the day. During the day, Mabel’s base is the office area of school, she has her bed, water and toys there and can enjoy peace and quiet whenever she wants to.
Mabel enjoys visiting the classrooms and finding out what the children are learning. She listens to readers and even children who are a bit reluctant to read enjoy sharing their book with her! Occasionally, children come to school feeling a bit sad or upset sometimes they feel like this during the day. Mabel can be very good at cheering children up and offering comfort. She loves greeting everyone as they arrive at school.
Just ask anyone in school what they love about Mabel.