Here at St Brigid’s Primary School, Middle Swan, we have identified an increase in the percentage of students who are exhibiting signs of anxiety and other social and emotional concerns.
A Wellness Dog will become another strategy that we can draw upon in order to reduce the level of anxiety in our students.
The benefits of a Wellness Dog at school are endless. They can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness and even improve your cardiovascular health. Caring for a dog can help children grow up more secure and active while providing valuable companionship.
The intentions of the Wellness Dog are to try and reduce and alleviate the amount of stress, anxiety and other social and emotional concerns, and develop a sense of belonging within our children at St Brigid’s Primary School. We as a school, are doing everything we can to help lower the impact of these conditions by having a Wellness Dog at school. We know pets are kind, nonjudgmental and a great companion to share and care with. Our Wellness Dog will always be your friend.
Wellness Dog FAQ
Are dogs now allowed in the school?
No dogs are still not allowed on the school grounds. The Wellness Dog is part of a training program which take 1-2 years to be accredited.
Where will the dog be during the day?
The Wellness Dog will be at school during school hours under the care of its owner or handler/s. The Wellness Dog will visit classrooms or spaces around the school as needed during the day. It may also spend time in the Administration area for rests.
What will be the job of the Wellness Dog?
Some of the roles of a Wellness Dog can include
Being with individuals or small groups of children to provide comfort.
Going for a walk by identified children to reduce their anxiety.
Joining classroom sessions to listening to children’s speeches or reading.
Supporting students in any emotional situation.
What if my child is scared or has an allergy to dogs?
The students safety is our highest priority. Prior to entering the classroom, the handler must check to see if any child is afraid or allergic to the dog. The handler will request permission from the teacher whether to enter the classroom or not and will check how long the Wellness Dog can stay for. The handler will stay for the classroom visit if requested by the teacher. The Dog will not be left alone with any student at any time and all of the students from the ELC to Year Six will be explicitly taught about safety around dogs prior to being introduced to our Wellness Dog. We will enforce the Approach, Ask, Pat, Goodbye method.