Bailey & Riva - our best friends!
We are very lucky here at West Wittering Primary School to have two lovely dogs that come in to help children with their reading.
Riva and Bailey are both beautiful Golden Retrievers who love to spend time with pupils. Their gentle nature brings a calming comfort to school and really helps encourage readers of every level.
So what do pupils do when working with a wellbeing dog?
Bailey, alongside Riva, are there for emotional wellbeing support for our pupils. Wellbeing has always been high on our agenda here at West Wittering and the Lockdown during the recent pandemic has exacerbated the need for wellbeing support. Children are identified by staff as needing some 'Bailey Support' and they are then taking out with Mrs Price, or Mr Matthews, and they will often 'Walk n Talk' around school discussing any concerns or worries they have. They will learn to talk to Bailey, to groom Bailey, to give commands and teach him new tricks, or sometimes they will just stroke and hug Bailey, whatever the child needs on the day. Bailey, and the adult working with him, are great listeners and they will often share their advice of what to do in different situations.
Riva visits with her handler Julia, and she will work with between 6 and 8 children, over 2 afternoons a week, very mcuh supporting the wellbeing programme and will complete many activites similair to Bailey, but has her own tricks and games to share.
What do our children think?
"I love having Bailey in school each week, he is great fun to meet on the gate, he is very smiley and happy and I really love it when he comes out at lunch - I really love throwing his ball for him" Year 2 Pupil
"Riva really helps me when I am sad, I can talk to him and he lies there and listens to me and I can share my worries with him. He is so calm and I love learning how to groom him, this is a great thing to do with him. " Year 4 Pupil.
My time with Bailey is my most favourite time of the week. I have taught him some tricks and he has helped me to talk more clearly so he knows what I want him to do." - Year 1 Pupil
"Bailey is a very calming influence on the children. When he is working in a group of less motivated learners, he has a great ability at encouraging them to do their best work and work quietly - which is a real bonus." Mrs Price Teaching Assistant.