George the Dog Mentor
We would like introduce you to George, the Dog Mentor. He has a very important job to do by supporting all members of our community; our pupils, our parents and our staff.
He has been formally assessed to ascertain his suitability for the school setting and passed with flying colours.
We have undertaken a significant amount of research and are aware of many benefits to having a school dog:
- A calming effect on pupils, particularly those with behavioural or learning difficulties;
- Improved behaviour and concentration, reduce stress and improved self-esteem;
- Encouraging expression and participation in more withdrawn children;
- Fostering a sense of responsibility;
- Increasing enthusiasm for and enjoyment of animals which will motivate the children to think and learn;
- Encouraging respect and thereby improving pupils’ relationship with each other, parents and teachers;
- Teaching children to nurture and respect life;
- Helping work undertaken with the most vulnerable children and educational improvements with low achievers;
- Helping children build confidence in reading;
- Helping children who suffer bereavement or who are upset in any way and in need of calm, comfort and space before being able to tell an adult what has upset them.
George is also available to work with children (and adults) who have had bad experiences with dogs or other animals. With parental permission, over a period of time children who react fearfully to dogs will be supported in approaching, handling and gaining confidence in managing their fear.
While George’s main place of residence will be the Primary Principal’s Office, which is secure and separate from the classrooms, children interact with George under strict supervision at certain times of the day/week as long as parental permission has been given. George will not be given access to other visitors without supervision and mutual consent.
We operate an “opt out” system whereby should you wish your child to not to engage with George the Shar Pei, we would like you to complete and return the attached form. If you give consent for your child to interact with George then you do not need to do anything.
We have chosen a Chinese Shar Pei as this breed is known to be intelligent, calm, loyal, gentle mannered and child friendly. This breed of dog has short hair and so there is a reduced risk of allergic reaction too. We understand that it is not possible for all families to have a family dog and therefore we hope that this is an opportunity for children to have a “share” in a dog, gain from a relationship and contact on a regular basis and have a friend for life.