Max and Bella - Dogs in School

At St Helen's we have two dogs who come into school to work with pupils. Max is a Yellow Labrador Retriever.

He specialises in listening carefully when children read to him.

Bella the Beagle likes lots of attention from pupils and enjoys children looking after her when they feel a little stressed or upset.

We have undertaken a significant amount of research and are aware of many benefits to having a well trained dog working in school:

• a calming effect on pupils, particularly those with behavioural or learning difficulties;

• improved behaviour and concentration, reduced stress and improved self-esteem;

• encouraging expression and participation in more withdrawn children

• fostering a sense of responsibility

• motivating pupils to think and to learn, as children have a high level of natural interest in, enthusiasm for and enjoyment of animals;

• encouraging respect and thereby improving pupils’ relationships 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.

Labradors and Beagles are two of the most appropriate breeds of dog to work in school because of their ideal temperament and because they are used widely in the field of therapy and support (e.g. guide dogs).