Benji, our school dog, attends Low Moor for two days a week. He is a Golden Doodle, a breed of dog that is known for its mild, sociable temperament and hypo-allergenic coat. Some of Benji’s key roles are to ‘read’ with children, support and nurture individuals and small groups, encourage a willingness to learn, promote well-being and to have a cohesive effect on our school as a key member of the Low Moor family. You will also see Benji in the playground when he is greeting children in the morning.
A risk assessment is in place for Benji and the policy regarding school dogs is available on request. We still adhere to our rule of no dogs on the school site and ask that you do not enter the school grounds with family pets.
There is considerable research regarding the therapeutic benefits of using dogs in education to support and nurture children. To find out more, see below. We have also compiled some frequently asked questions, which you can read here. Some helpful hints for when Benji is visiting us are included below.
What are the benefits of a school dog?
Cognitive development – building companionship with a dog helps children stimulate their memory, problem-solving and game-playing skills. Having a school dog is known to increase enthusiasm and enjoyment of animals, which motivates children to learn.
Social skills – dogs provide a mutual topic for conversation and encourage responsibility, well-being and focused interaction with others.
Emotional skills – dogs improve self-esteem, acceptance from others and are known for improving mood. Dogs can also help children develop compassion and respect for other living things and can reduce children’s anxiety. Building respect can improve children’s relationships with each other, parents and teachers and shows them how to nurture and care for another living thing. If any children are suffering from bereavement or are particularly sad, dogs can provide children with comfort and friendship.
Physical development – interaction with dogs is known to reduce blood pressure, provide tactile stimulation, assist with pain management and give motivation for children to move and walk.
Reading – school dogs are known to help children with their reading and literacy skills, through their calming presence and ability to listen to children read without being judgemental or critical. Children can build their confidence to read aloud to others through having a school dog.
School community – having a school dog builds the sense of a family environment and togetherness.