Dog assisted education

IMG_0243

 

The faithful, affectionate and friendly nature of dogs can make an essential contribution to creating an encouraging learning atmosphere. If the therapy dog’s handler is a teacher, after careful preparation s/he can come with the dog into the classroom. Many agreements are needed for this work, the most important being the support of the head of the school, the other staff, the Institute of Education of the Republic of Slovenia, the pupils and their parents. The forms of such work differ widely, depending on the age and capabilities of the pupils, for example:

  • regular work in classes in schools with a normal programme (primary and secondary schools),
  • cooperation in out-of-school clubs, activities, etc. with groups of children,
  • individual help for pupils with special needs in primary schools with a normal programme,
  • regular work in a department in a school with an adapted programme,
  • individual forms of work in a school with an adapted programme.

 

DSC0667We can expect that in the dog’s presence the pupils will be more relaxed, courageous and motivated to establish social contacts more easily. The dog’s unconditional affection stimulates feelings of acceptance and safety.

In every case we must take care for the pupils’ safety. We take into account the fact that a lively environment can be demanding for the dog. We point out to the pupils how to behave alongside the dog and prepare a suitable poster in the classroom.

In particular, the regular presence of a dog in schools with a normal programme is a novelty in Slovenia, and thus special care is needed in its introduction.