In a recent conference about improving wellbeing in school-age children, academics and educators have suggested that dogs could hold the key to happier, more contented classrooms.
As reported on BBC News yesterday, University of Buckingham vice-chancellor Sir Anthony Seldon says,
“The quickest and biggest hit that we can make to improve mental health in our schools and to make them feel safe for children, is to have at least one dog in every single school in the country,”
Sir Anthony argues that during times of stress or anxiety, many children are able to relate to animals in a way that can be more difficult with humans. So-called ‘wellbeing dogs’ are becoming an increasingly common sight in schools, and are often the friendly pets of teachers or pastoral staff.
Education secretary Damian Hinds is also backing the trend, claiming “pets can really help” in the classroom.
So why is it that dogs are so great when it comes to managing anxiety, stress and improving concentration?
It is thought that interacting with a friendly dog can boost serotonin and dopamine which can help to relax and calm. Studies have also shown that people with dogs have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without. Dogs also bring a sense of companionship, easing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Whatever the reasoning, we love the thought of children learning with animals alongside them. Do you know of a great classroom dog? Tell us all about them at firstname.lastname@example.org