As the youngest age range within the educational early years setting, our nurturing approach recognises that a calm environment and positive relationships are central to both learning and wellbeing.
The children typically respond very positively to our canine teams and our presence has proved to encourage aspects of their learning and development such as reading, active listening and communication.
Working with our school dogs has enabled some children who previously struggled with certain behaviours and areas of learning to work through these challenges in a calm and positive manner.
In addition, the presence of our school dogs encourages behaviour that benefits and develops the children’s emotional and social needs too, such as empathy, compassion, love, care, confidence, security and understanding.
Case study – Kai
Kai was four years old when he started working with CAL. Kai was identified as one of our most vulnerable children in school; he was going through a crisis at home as well as struggling with severe hypermobility that was making him feel extremely frustrated and tired. He also demonstrated heightened sensory issues. With this combined, Kai found day-to-day life a struggle.
Kai found their sessions with Lilly very rewarding. CAL provided Kai with his own toy ‘Lilly’ for in the classroom and at home. He associated the calming feeling of the real Lilly with the toy Lilly. This strategy worked well along with other breathing and sensory activities. Over time, Kai developed a close relationship with Lilly and Mandeep, the practitioner. Kai learnt to trust them and to verbalise how he was feeling, he took onboard advice and suggestions on how to calm himself down and to prevent him from getting upset.
Kai continued to make progress and continued to regulate his mood using strategies learned during the CAL sessions. There was a huge improvement seen both at home and school, shouting and frustration had eased. Kai was so proud of himself, his confidence was growing each week. It was an amazing journey to watch and be part of. A real success story.
Consultancy School Dog Services is where one of our team of a trained school assistance dog and practitioner can visit your school for one-to-one sessions and Affiliate School Dog Services is where we can offer a training and support programme for your own school dog for this setting.