Meet Ivy, our Isle of Ely 'Dog Mentor'! Ivy is a very important member of our school team, supporting the wellbeing (both emotional and academic) of a growing number of children. The Dog Mentor programme has built upon the benefits of the human-animal bond, giving children positive experiences with dogs that can help them educationally, developmentally, emotionally and socially. Over the last five years, the Dog Mentor programme has been proven to have a positive impact on children in all areas, including: higher self-esteem, greater empathy, improved levels of engagement with peers and better prosocial behaviour. To find out more, you can visit the Dog Mentor website (www.thedogmentor.co.uk). Whilst in school, Ivy works with classes as well as specific children as individuals or as part of a small group. During this time she helps with:
- reducing stress and improving behaviour
- encouraging a sense of responsibility
- teaching children to respect and nurture life
- helping children build confidence with reading
- helping children build language and communication skills
- helping children going through difficult and challenging times, for example bereavement or family changes, by giving them a sense of comfort and calm
Ivy's base will be in our Key Stage 2 area where she will be in a secure environment, separate from the other classrooms. She will always be under adult supervision whilst working with children, her current working days are Monday and Wednesday afternoons as well as Friday mornings. Miss Crawley (her owner/handler) and Miss Huntington (handler) have completed training with the Dog Mentor organisation and Ivy passed her assessment with flying colours! Please check back for updates on how Ivy is getting on in school and the impact she is having on our pupils, staff and wider school community.
Ivy is a roughly 3 year old labrador-pointer mix who started off actually living in a much warmer climate, Cyprus! Sadly she found herself without a home and living on the streets before Miss Crawley adopted her just over 2 years ago. She is incredibly well-behaved (at school!) and has absolutely loved the time she has spent with us so far. She really enjoys being outside but is very relaxed in school; she will happily sit and be fussed whilst children read or listen to the teacher and will only bother them if they stop stroking her!