Woody - The School Dog
Woody joined Lealands in September 2019. We initially decided to have a ‘school therapy dog’ to pilot interventions focusing on the following areas:
- Working on social skills and building positive relationships within nurture group sessions.
- Providing a calming presence with pupils in 1:1 and small group sessions.
- Providing motivation for pupils improving in literacy.
Woody is based within the Student Support Department where he works with a high number of students. We were predicting that Woody would be a popular member of the team but the whole department have been fascinated at just how much of a positive impact he has had.
Woody has a sense of understanding when someone is feeling down or anxious and just a cuddle from him seems to pick everyone up. Like all dogs, he loves play time too and he encourages students to get involved and participate with group activities. The ‘Woody Club’ is a very popular place to be at lunch time and he has managed to engage even the quietest and shyest students to get involved and make new friends.
Our new Epraise shop now has ‘Woody Time’ available. Students who have saved up enough step points can use their points to spend a tutor period with Woody, either in a playful environment; the school field (weather permitting) the school garden or in our sports hall, or they can have some quiet time to relax and unwind. Whatever students choose to do, it comes with a cake and a drink.
The Student Support Team have been fortunate enough to have been allocated the ‘school garden’. Not only is this area perfect for Woody to have some ‘timeout’ and a run around, it has also become a peaceful environment for students to get more involved with nature. Students have set up an array of bird feeders which have already attracted numerous species of birds to our garden. Winter bulbs have been planted and the greenhouse has been utilised for planting seedlings. We are looking forward to exhibiting some of our home grown flowers in the main reception this spring. Thank you to Mrs Sanderson for the beautiful, personalised, Lealands vase which is already waiting in reception to show off our first cut flowers.
Having a school dog has had such a positive impact on the Student Support Department, the students that visit, and staff… we all need a bit of well-being sometimes!