The Covid-19 pandemic has been difficult for our families and our children's mental health and well-being, so we considered the potential benefits a school pet could bring to our school community.
Coco is our school pet and therapeutic dog. She has been assessed and certified by Canine Concern.
Coco lives at home with Mrs Dickinson (our school SENCO), her husband Steve and two children, Luke and Connie. She is a 5 year old chocolate Cockerpoo. She loves long walks and chasing a ball (she quite often hides the school tennis balls!). Coco tends to come to school on Wednesdays when Mrs Dickinson is not in Class 1 but she has been known to spend the day in Class 1 with the children while they are learning.
We believe the key benefits of having Coco are:-
To bring joy, happiness, love, fun and a sense of awe and wonder into our school community, especially after the difficult time children have experienced during school lockdowns in Summer 2020.
To offer therapeutic benefits that supports children's mental health, emotional well-being and social and emotional development.
Children can have one-to-one sessions with Coco, to help them open up and talk. She also offers comfort and a calming effect for children experiencing high levels of stress and frustration. Children learn about the responsibilities of looking after a pet, including routine care and daily commitment.
Coco also offers children the opportunity to learn that animals, like humans, can communicate their needs without using words. For example, Coco can communicate when she wants to play and when she has had enough attention.
Coco routinely undertakes regular health checks, vaccines and necessary treatment. She works with individual children, groups or classes and always under strict control and supervision.
We are aware that it may not be appropriate to introduce Coco to all our children, as some children may have phobias or allergies. Any parent who does not want their child to interact with the school dog will have their wishes respected. Many parents have commented on how much their children love Coco, even those that previously were unsure of dogs.