Why use the Blue Dog in schools?
Clearly research shows that bites to young children in the home are an issue. What better way to reach a wide audience of children between the ages of 3 and 7 than introducing the Blue Dog programme into the school curriculum. In this way it is possible to reach an audience wider than those who have a family pet of their own.
All children will have the opportunity to learn how to interact with dogs they may meet in their own home or in the homes of friends.
Safeguarding children is of the utmost importance and one of the key responsibilities of the primary school. The Blue Dog programme not only fulfils the criteria of promoting a safe environment but allows children themselves the opportunity to educate parents and family.
(The picture shows children during a lesson at Scargill school)
Blue Dog affords many opportunities to address a variety of areas within The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Development Matters Curriculum (-> 5 years).
A few examples include:
- Self Confidence and Self Esteem: Begin to recognise danger and know who to turn to for help; Showing increasing confidence in new situations; Have a developing awareness of their own needs, views and feelings, and be sensitive to the needs views and feelings of others.
- Making relationships: Demonstrate flexibility and adapt their behaviour to different events, social situations and changes in routine.
- Behaviour and Self Control: Show care and concern for others, for living things and the environment.
- Language for Communication: Question why things happen and give explanations.
- Language for Thinking: Begin to use talk to pretend imaginary situations; Use language to imagine and recreate roles and experiences.
- ICT: Use a mouse and keyboard to interact with age appropriate computer software.
- Health and Body Awareness: Show awareness of their own needs with regard to eating, sleeping and hygiene.
- Creative Development: Exploring media and materials; developing imagination and imaginative play.
A similar range of cross curricular opportunities is available in the Key Stage 1 Curriculum (6-7 years).This would include PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education), Citizenship, Literacy including Speaking and Listening and Writing, ICT, Thinking Skills and Art and Design and Media.
Find out more headline facts and figures or delve deeper into the research abstract data. Your queries may be answered in the Frequently Asked Questions section. If not, why not e-mail us your question directly for feedback?
Once you are convinced about the relevance of the Blue Dog for the children in your school, check out ideas about how to introduce the programme as well as more detailed lesson plan ideas.
The Download section of the website provides a wealth of useful material.
These ideas were originally developed by Moira Butcher, Jan Barnett and Judy Munford, teachers from the Hacton and Scargill schools within the London Borough of Havering, UK.
However, feedback from teachers within Belgium and the Netherlands indicate that the concepts and ideas can easily be adapted to the teaching regimes in their countries (the picture shows a lesson in progress in a school in Kortijk, Belgium). As a result of this, the Government of Vlaams Brabant have given financial support to the Teachers Toolbox section of the website.