Dogs connecting with school kids
HOLY Rosary principal Paul Dullard hasn’t seen too many students fit in as well as Bridie.
The Labradoodle was a hit with staff and students when she started visiting the school with Grant Shannon.
Grant, Bridie and his other dog Sonny have been working with Holy Rosary students as part of the Dogs Connect program.
The organisation aims to improve connectedness within school communities by using dogs to impact the school culture.
And it has had a major impact on students, according to Mr Dullard.
“I wasn’t 100 per cent sure of the benefits the program would have but it has proved helpful,” he said.
“Grant and the dogs have brought an amazing calmness to the school. They are beautiful dogs and the children are learning about social and emotional skills through them.
“Not only are they learning about emotions and how to control them but they are also getting lessons in the responsibility that comes with owning and taking care of an animal.”
Mr Dullard said the dogs had been working and interacting with grade four and five children in several ways.
“The children were looking at heart rates of the dogs and how it relates to their heightened behaviour,” he said.
“This is leading them to a better understanding of their own heart rate and how to manage behaviour escalations. Learning through the dogs makes it a great experience for everyone.
“Students also take them for walks. It gives them a chance to get some fresh air and take a break.”
Mr Dullard said the benefits of the Dogs Connect program were unfolding every day.
“The staff are noticing a connection between the dogs and the students and that allows them to calm themselves through the animals,” he said.
Labradoodle Bridie has been making friends at Holy Rosary Primary School.