This is Ginny and she is our school dog. She was born on 15th May 2017 and seems to be a hit with everyone at school. We decided to have her after investigating research around the advantages that a dog can have as part of a school environment. Ginny’s role in school is varied. Once she is fully trained she may ‘chill out’ in the classroom whilst the children are having their lessons. Ginny will also hear children read. Dogs give unconditional acceptance, as they are non-judgmental, which is especially crucial to struggling, emerging readers. She will provide confidence to children as they read to her, but above all she will make an amazing listener, providing the children with a sense of comfort and love. In America, the ‘Reading Dogs’, as they are known, have proved through research that children who read to these dogs show an increase in reading levels, word recognition, a higher desire to read and write, and an increase in intra and interpersonal skills among the children they mix with. Research studies in both Britain and America have concluded that having a dog in a school classroom can have many positive benefits – these include help to calm children down, improve academic achievement, motivate those children who are often not that attentive, teach responsibility and encourage children to respect all life. Also, it has been shown that when children share the affection and care of a ‘class’ dog, a bond forms among them and strengthens their team ethics. At the moment, Ginny is in puppy training and learning her manners: how to greet people, where and when she can play and when she needs to be calm and quiet, what to chew (and what not to chew!). Whilst this process continues she is visiting classrooms on the lead, sitting in assemblies and getting used to school routines. Presently, Ginny spends most of her time in the Deputy Head’s area and is being introduced to school life slowly. She was chosen for her calm, loving temperament and Mr Clapham and her trainer are continuing to monitor this to ensure she continues to be an appropriate dog to be in school. Ginny is a Cockerpoo, which is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle, and they are known for their loving and social temperament. Additionally, because she does not shed her fur, it is highly unlikely anyone will be allergic to her. Parents are advised that if they think this will be an issue for their child, to contact the school office. We understand that it is not possible for all families to have a family dog and therefore we are delighted to provide the opportunity for children at Kingfisher to have a ‘share’ in a dog and gain from the relationship and contact on a regular basis. We will be regularly adding pictures and information about how Ginny is doing on this page so that everyone can enjoy her progress.
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