Have you heard of New York City’s Comfort Dog Program? The program, launched in 2016 by the Department of Education, pairs carefully screened rescue dogs with participating New York City Schools. The dogs are welcomed into the schools to work with students and staff to improve school climate and facilitate social-emotional learning. Seven schools participated during the 2016-2017 school year. Thirty more schools joined in the fall of 2017. There’s even a Mutt-i-grees Curriculum teachers can use to develop lesson plans that encourage empathy, cooperation, and decision-making skills.
Schools that have a staff member who is willing to adopt a qualified dog can apply to take part in the program. The dogs attend school just like the kiddos. The pups are always accompanied by qualified adult or student dog handlers whether they are greeting students, sitting in on special needs classes, attending counseling sessions, or lending their ears to emerging readers.
I think this program is paws-itivly wonderful! Of course, I’m one of those dog-crazy humans who believes dogs provide emotional benefits. What about you?
Do you think welcoming a pup at your school could improve student attendance, test scores, and overall enthusiasm for learning? Let me know!
Woofs and wags to you!