Therapy Dogs at CNPS
Two Therapy Dogs, Kramer and Jacob, come to school each day under the supervision of their owners, Teacher, Billy Candy, and Principal, Rachel Corben. The role of therapy dogs at CNPS is to react and respond to our students and their environment, under the guidance and direction of their owners and other CNPS Staff working as their handlers. Kramer and Jacob work at CNPS to support students with social and emotional learning needs. For example, an individual might be encouraged to gently pat or talk to a dog to teach sensitive touch and help them be calm.
A recent report highlighted students working with therapy dogs experienced increased motivation for learning, resulting in improved outcomes. Research into the effects of therapy dogs in schools is showing a range of benefits including:
- increase in school attendance
- gains in confidence
- decreases in learner anxiety behaviours resulting in improved learning outcomes, such as increases in readingand writing levels
- positive changes towards learning and improved motivation, and
- enhanced relationships with peers and teachers due to experiencing trust and unconditional love from a therapy dog. This in turn helps students learn how to express their feelingsand enter into more trusting relationships.
The following rules are enforced when Kramer and Jacob are working at school:
- If Kramer and Jacob are present in a learning space or the playground with their owner or another CNPS staff member they are officially working. They are available for pats and cuddles, but we try to limit this to two children at a time and only under our supervision.
- If Kramer or Jacob is working with a CNPS staff member who is supporting an individual student or small group of students, then other students must adhere to the ‘no touch, no talking’ with the dogs both in the playground and when they enter the classroom.
- Rest areas have been set up for Kramer and Jacob in the School Office and Library so they can have some time out – the concentration they need when they are working means they get quite fatigued and need a rest!
- The dogs need a number of ‘second handlers’ (older students and staff) who understand the basic commands and can take the dogs from their primary handler if required.
Kramer, Jacob and their owners have completed Certified Training for Handlers and Dogs through Lead the Way Institute http://leadthewayinstitute.com.au/services/therapy-dog-training-and-certification/.
In order for the dogs to work at CNPS, their owners must adhere to:
- Therapy Dog Grooming Guidelines
- Therapy Dog Veterinary Health Screening including Immunisation Requirements and
- OH&S and Risk Assessment Requirements.
Dog Therapy Opt Out
We understand that there may be some families who do not want Kramer and Jacob to work directly with their child. Please email your opt out notification to firstname.lastname@example.org
Carlton North Primary School acknowledges the support of Lead the Way Institute, School Focused Youth Services and the Victorian Government.