At Meadlands we love animals and over the last few years we have had weekly visits from a black Labrador, Sika, who is a therapy dog. These sessions have been so rewarding and had such a positive impact on our pupils that we decided to get our own school dog.
Our school dog is called Chaplin and belongs to Miss Taunton. He is an eight-year-old rescued Patterdale cross and spends every Wednesday at Meadlands in ‘The Nest’, with Ms Davies. During his visiting hours, children can decide to read to Chaplin, stroke him whilst talking to Ms Davies, or take him outside for a walk around our field. During lunchtimes he goes off site for a walk with Miss Taunton. Children are also invited to join Chaplin for this activity to spend quality one-on-one time with him.
Dogs are increasingly being used in schools with great success. Below are just some of the benefits we hope to see from having Chaplin and Sika at Meadlands.
- a calming effect on pupils
- a development of empathy
- improved behaviour and concentration, reduced stress and improved self-esteem
- encouraging expression, participation and confidence for all children
- fostering a sense of responsibility
- 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
- teaching children to nurture and respect life
- helping with work undertaken with the most vulnerable children
- further promote ‘well being’ for our pupils
This what our children have said about Sika and Chaplin:
- I like visiting Sika every week because after spending time with her, its shows me that dogs are really friendly and enjoyable to play with.
- Spending time with the dogs make me feel really happy and relaxed.
- Stroking Chaplin makes me feel calm, relaxed and happy.
- I really wished we had a school dog and now we have one. When I stroke Chaplin, he is really soft.
- I love Sika. I love stroking Sika. She is so soft and gentle. It makes me feel calm and happy.