Dulwich College and DUCKS are proud to introduce Monty, our in-training school dog.
The value of pet therapy has long been accepted as a powerful aid in offering psychological, emotional, social and physical support for students. Monty’s role here is two-fold, supporting both emotional health and academic success.
Monty is being trained to undertake specific activities, known as animal-assisted interventions, with selected pupils from across the College and DUCKS on a one-to-one and small group basis. They are designed to help calm, build confidence and bring enjoyment to both the pupils and Monty.
There is no greater motivation than the chance to read with Monty. He is generating a surge of enthusiasm for reading amongst our pupils. At DUCKS, Monty comes into whole class reading sessions and they have the opportunity to hear about Monty’s adventures and share their favourite stories.
Monty is also beginning to undertake one-to-one reading sessions in which pupils have the opportunity to read to him whilst he sits and enjoys their storytelling. Research shows that children who read to dogs improve in reading fluency and word recognition, have a higher desire to read and write, and develop their intra- and interpersonal skills. These reading sessions are relaxed, with Monty being a non-judgmental listener who loves to listen and spend time with the children.
As well as generally making pupils and staff smile, Monty has perhaps the greatest opportunity as a therapy dog. Monty provides comfort, alleviates worry and helps to mitigate against any negative thoughts. He is a cute, characterful companion who calms frazzled nerves, causing heart rates to drop. Training Monty by playing games such as the sharing or confidence games, or simply talking to and watching him, are all powerful therapeutic techniques.