Digby our School Dog
Digby joined our school team in May 2019 after months of planning and extensive research into the benefits of dogs in schools. Research shows how beneficial it is educationally and emotionally for children to have contact with a dog whilst at school. School dogs provide enjoyment through interaction as well as developing an understanding of responsibility, empathy and nurturing skills. Our children here at Woolavington, especially our most vulnerable children and reluctant learners, benefit hugely from a friendly listener and the calming influence of a dog. Our children already benefit from our ‘calm approach’ ethos in the classroom and Digby, our school dog adds to our already calm and nurturing ethos.
Since Digby joined us, the children have been involved in naming him, training and understanding how to look after him to now seeing him as part of our Behaviour Policy. When children are feeling overwhelmed or have a problem, they have the opportunity to go and talk to Digby about it, accompanied by an adult from the class. Digby is also part of our reward system:
Star of the Week
A Star of the Week is chosen in each class every Friday, their name is announced in assembly and they receive a special certificate as well as having their photograph up on our Star of the Week board. The Stars of the Week then go on a Digby Dog Walk on a Monday afternoon with the Head of School. *Any children who choose not to attend the Digby Dog Walk are able to choose a different reward with their Class teacher.
Digby Dog Walk
Digby goes for a walk every afternoon. Class Teachers are able to choose children to attend a dog walk if they have achieved something extraordinary that day or have shown improved effort or behaviour.
Children are able to go and show Digby a piece of their learning and have 1:1 time with Digby as long as an adult goes with them. They are also encouraged to then share this piece of learning with the Head of School.
Digby is sponsored by Axe Valley Vets, who have a Practice in Woolavington Village. The children accompanied Digby to the vets for his first jabs and then have also done so for his yearly health checks.
Children and parents do have the option to ‘opt-out’ of spending time with Digby, should any child have an allergy or not want to be around him. Digby is always supervised by an adult and is never left alone or alone with a child.