PET PROJECT

School’s class dog takes lead

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Guy Bell [email protected]­m­group.co.uk @gbel­lKM

Pupils in Maid­stone have wel­comed a furry new class­room as­sis­tant to help them learn this year.

When Hay­ley King, head teacher at Tiger Pri­mary, got Nelly the cock­apoo in July she thought the pooch would make a great mas­cot for the Boughton Lane school. But dur­ing her first term, the six-month-old pup has cap­tured the hearts of staff and stu­dents there.

Now Nelly is in­volved in many dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties across the aca­demic spec­trum, and each day a dif­fer­ent class has the plea­sure of tak­ing the puppy out to break with them. One of her main func­tions is her in­volve­ment with the Sun­shine Club, which aims to com­fort chil­dren who suf­fer with anx­i­ety brought about by school en­vi­ron­ment. The puppy is used as a cop­ing mech­a­nism for when the chil­dren be­gin to feel ner­vous or up­set.

She is also help­ing chil­dren to get ac­tive by tak­ing part in the Marathon Kids pro­gramme, an ini­tia­tive which gives young­sters the op­por­tu­nity to run or walk the dis­tance of 26 miles through­out the year.

Nelly’s du­ties don’t stop there; she is also present dur­ing read­ing time as chil­dren tell her their favourite sto­ries. And she is also used as a re­ward, with pupils who are be­hav­ing and per­form­ing well able to en­joy some ex­tra time with ev­ery­one’s favourite cock­apoo.

Head teacher Hay­ley King said: “Nelly has been a fan­tas­tic ad­di­tion to the Tiger Pri­mary School fam­ily, the chil­dren are al­ways ex­cited to see her and she can re­ally brighten up their day.

“We are so happy with how many ac­tiv­i­ties she has man­aged to get in­volved with and how of­ten the chil­dren want to see and in­ter­act with her.

“She has been well re­ceived by both staff and par­ents, all of whom think her in­clu­sion in so many ac­tiv­i­ties is hugely ben­e­fi­cial to chil­dren who may not be as re­cep­tive to school as oth­ers.”

Nelly will con­tinue to spend time with the pupils for the rest of the aca­demic year.

Nelly the six-month-old cock­apoo, pic­tured with some of her young class­mates at Tiger Pri­mary School in Boughton Lane

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