LEO Academy Trust are proud to be the only Trust in our local area with all seven of our schools partnered with Wellbeing Woofers.
Wellbeing Woofers is an exciting initiative where fully DBS and insured instructors bring well loved, family trained dogs and puppies into the classroom. Here, children get the opportunity to have close contact with friendly, hypoallergenic dogs to play games, express their emotions, and learn how to groom and care for their new furry friends.
Research has proven that petting a dog releases happy hormones in your brain so if your
children are having a difficult day, spending 10 minutes with a dog can boost their mood
greatly. Evidence indicates that benefits include:
- Cognitive- Companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem solving and game playing.
- Social – A dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing and focused interaction with others.
- Emotional – A school dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others and lifts mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieving anxiety.
- Physical – Interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses.
- Environmental – A dog in a school increases the sense of a family environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.
- Reading – Reading to dogs has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and build confidence, through both the calming effect the dog’s presence has on children as well as the fact that a dog will listen to children read without being judgemental or critical. This comforting environment helps to nurture children’s enthusiasm for reading and provides them with the confidence to read aloud.
Danielle Scrase, Head of Inclusion at LEO Academy Trust, has quoted:
"LEO Academy Trust is committed to providing high quality provision to support SEND children and meet their needs. Therapy dogs are used in particular, to reduce anxiety for SEND children. Additionally, as the LEO Academy Trust Pupil Wellbeing Policy and provision is based on Trauma-Informed practice; therapy dogs are used as an intervention to provide opportunities for children to heal after trauma. This is built into the graduated response for pupil wellbeing."
Frequently Asked Questions:
My child is scared of dogs
Some children may have had upsetting experiences and, therefore, have a fear of dogs
(or another animal). Wellbeing Woofers will only be in contact with children whose parents have given their permission. Experience and research have shown that with proper guidance and handling, children can learn to overcome their fear of animals and grow in respect and appreciation for them, however handlers will never push a child out of their comfort zone.
My child has additional needs
Wellbeing Woofers are very kind, gentle dogs who seems to have a sixth sense as to who needs some extra help. These dogs have had huge success in helping lots of children with additional needs including those with autism, ADHD, non verbal and sensory processing disorders.
When will my child see the Wellbeing Woofers?
You will be contacted directly if we would like to work on a one to one, or group basis with your child.
If your child isn't currently working with a Wellbeing Woofer, don't worry. The dogs support pupils on a rotational basis to help as many children as possible. They will also be involved in class and whole school activities.