Meet the latest addition to Golborne St Thomas’s school – an adorable Labrador pup called Thelma!
Thelma is a special ‘therapy dog’, and she’s joining the staff at the school, helping pupils in a range of ways, from helping them in subjects like science, increasing their confidence and improving their social skills.
Research has shown that spending time with dogs can have a very calming effect on children – and staff – and Thelma has been hand selected for the role because of her calm nature and friendly temperament.
During the summer break Thelma will be going off to a school of her own – honing her obedience skills, so that in September she can become even more involved in school life – doing one-to-one therapy sessions, taking part in class, in nurture sessions and meeting and greeting parents on the playground.
And Thelma is already winning the hearts of children, teachers and parents. Here’s what some of the children had to see about their new school dog:
“Thelma is so cute, my head is full of cuteness and love.”
“She’s so cute, I love her. I can’t wait for her to come and work with us.”
“I am really looking forward to reading to Thelma!”
And in turn, Thelma seems to be relishing her new life in school. Head teacher Joanne Woods said: “Thelma absolutely loved the children, and loves being carried around the school to see them all.
“Labradors like Thelma have such a friendly and placid nature and they are also extremely intelligent, which is why they are chosen to work as guide dogs.
“We’re really delighted to have Thelma join the school because therapy dogs like her have been shown to have such fantastic results elsewhere.”
School therapy dogs are a recognised tool to help reduce anxiety in pupils going through difficulties or traumatic situations, sometimes because children feel more relaxed and able to talk when an animal is present. Children also love to read to therapy dogs – because they feel that the animal won’t ‘judge’ them on their ability – which can in turn help them turn into much more confident readers in general.
And Thelma will also be able to look forward to spending plenty of time outside with the children – thanks to head teacher Mrs Woods’ passion for outdoor learning.
So, it sounds like pupils, staff and Thelma have a lot of adventures to look forward to together!
Pictured in main image: Pupils Gemma, Bailey & Billy with head teacher Joanne Woods and Thelma the new therapy dog.