When dealing with animals, children and young people can test and refine their personal and social skills in an unencumbered and casual way - comfort and fun are guaranteed with animals, emotional conversations and touching are not embarrassing, secrets are in good hands.
The chance to learn more about animals, to reduce fears in direct contact and to have positive experiences should be offered to many children.
Having a pet is becoming less popular for understandable reasons, so more and more schools offer their pupils this opportunity - especially dogs are already a familiar sight at some schools.
Used pedagogically in the right way, dogs are a motivating enrichment for lessons, increase school satisfaction and improve the classroom climate: stress among pupils is reduced, "difficult" children are less noisy and socially acceptable, while quiet children are more outgoing. All in all, the capacity for empathy is increased.
The reduction of stress and the pupils' improved ability to concentrate is used very successfully by the R.E.A.D (The Reading Education Assistance Dog) programme, for example: primary school pupils with reading difficulties regularly read to the dogs, read aloud and significantly improve their reading ability.
The health-promoting effect of the human-animal relationship is often described in scientific literature. Especially the reduction of anxiety and stress caused by the presence and interaction with animals has a healing and to some extent also a preventive effect. For schools, this means that children can be supported in their learning through the presence of suitable animals.
The University College of Teacher Education Burgenland offers an annual course "Dog-assisted pedagogy at school" to the amount of 6 ECs.
Such a course is a prerequisite for the use of dogs in school according to the criteria of the Ministry of Education, which was issued for this purpose in June 2012.
Hundegestützte Pädagogik - Jutta Preisinger
Der Schulhund in der NMS Mattersburg - Karin Krumpeck, Kerstin Mittermayer, Michaela Schneeweiß, Birgit Stiassny-Gutsch, Victoria Titzer
Elternbrief - Vorlage
The present project aims to investigate whether a relationship with a grandmother is a better way to forge secure bonds between children and their teachers. This initially seemingly unusual approach is based on the fact that the relationship with a grandmother does not seem to involve any of the transmission processes described above. Insecure bonds are transmitted to other adults (who tend to behave in a complementary way), but apparently not to grandmothers. Previous narrative data suggest that regardless of the internalised bonding pattern - whether it is safe, insecure or highly insecure - children are more likely to develop a positive relationship with a grandmother who is foreign to them. However, these results are based only on initial questionnaire data. In the present project, it will be investigated for the first time whether safe bonding processes between children and grandmothers can also be proven on the behavioural level as well as on the neurobiological level. If this could be confirmed, work with educated older people at school would play a major role in changing the maladaptive bonding patterns of insecurely bonded children. Grandmothers could open the children to secure bonding experiences, making it extremely easy for teachers to build a secure relationship with these children, which in turn is the most important predictor of school development in the cognitive, emotional and social spheres. The same resources could thus reach many more affected children.
Univ. Prof. Dr. Henri Julius, Ausbildungsinstitut für Bindungsgeleitete Interventionen, Berlin - Forschungsprojekt zur Unterbrechung der Transmission von Bindungsmustern im Kontext von Schule und Unterricht