Paws for thought? Why having a school dog is great for pupils’ well-being
To celebrate National Pet Month, our headteacher, Mrs Webster, explains why Jake, the Fox Red Labrador and Pilgrims’ resident pooch, is a very important member of the school.
Dogs in school can help to reduce stress in the classroom, it has been claimed.
Several recent news headlines have highlighted the benefits that pets can bring to your mental well-being, so it is no surprise they are becoming increasingly popular in schools across the UK.
Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, said the soothing presence of a dog in a classroom is great for relieving stress and suggested every school in the UK should have one. And we think he is right.
Jake joined Pilgrims as a three-month-old puppy in February 2018 and has become a massive part of school life. He can regularly be found playing on the school field, digging up the occasional bucket and spade left in the sand-pit and chasing lost balls around the playground.
Jake even joins me at the school gate in the mornings to greet the children and their parents. We find this is a great way to welcome the pupils and he always brings a smile to everyone’s faces. It’s the best way to start the school day!
Should all schools have a well-being dog?
We strongly believe that the well-being of our pupils is equally as important as their education.
We have invested in a range of initiatives to help improve this and work closely with The Mind Map charity to offer a range of classroom-based initiatives and parenting workshops to support the children. It is very important to encourage children to communicate their feelings, particularly as mental health issues in young people are on the rise.
With the advances in technology and the relentless pressures of social media, it is of paramount importance that children are supported from an early age to help deal with the stresses and anxieties of modern-day society.
Dogs can really help children to express themselves and the relationships that the children have built with Jake are heart-warming. Whether it’s our very little ones in Baby Room, through to our oldest children in Year 2, everyone looks forward to seeing Jake around the school, and they love telling him about their day at Pilgrims.