At Temple Grove children’s emotional wellbeing needs are supported by Gemma and Duggy.
Gemma is a trained professional in children’s mental health and well-being. She has 30 years of experience of working with children. Working alongside Gemma is Duggy, a trained, experienced and highly successful therapy dog.
Together, they offer Temple Grove:
• Drawing and talking therapy: a gentle, non- intrusive method of working with children who need help to support their emotional and learning needs.
• Walk and talk sessions: children get the opportunity to walk Duggy in the school grounds and have ‘talk time’ with me to talk through feelings, problems or simply just talking and having someone to listen. This has proven to reduce stress, improve self esteem and to solve problems before they snowball and become to big for the child to manage.
• Mindfulness sessions: I can teach children calming techniques and coping strategies to give them their own ‘tool belt’ of skills to use when they need them.
• A ‘time -to -talk’ club: Children get the chance to talk, share and support each other learning valuable communication and debating skills.
• Read to Duggy: Children get the opportunity to read to Duggy and myself in the book corner, to practise phonics, comprehension and increase confidence.
• Playtimes with Duggy: Nurture lunchtime sessions to support children during what can be a hard time for some.
The benefits of a therapy dog
Therapy dogs have been active in schools for some time. Teachers and administrators have witnessed the effects therapy dogs have on students and themselves.
The benefits of having therapy dogs in the classroom include:
Physical benefits. Interaction with therapy dogs has been shown to reduce blood pressure, provide physical stimulation and assist with pain management.
Social benefits. A visiting therapy dog promotes greater self-esteem and focused interaction with other students and teachers.
Cognitive benefits. It has been empirically proven that therapy dogs stimulate memory and problem-solving skills.
Emotional and mental health benefits. A recent national survey of adolescent mental health found that about 8 to 10 percent of teens ages 13 to 18 have an anxiety disorder. A therapy dog can lift moods in the classroom, often provoking laughter. The therapy dog is also there to offer friendship and a shoulder to lean on for students.