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A dog participates in class, Source: Freepik

Dogs relieve school stress in Wroclaw

Dogs relieve school stress in Wroclaw

Children show a higher interest in going to class and spending more time in the library, if puppies are present

After long months of social distancing and getting accustomed to online learning, Polish children were recently allowed to return to on-site classes. Naturally, this sudden change was related to a lot of stress and difficult re-adaptation. This is how an insightful idea to keep children’s motivation high was born last spring: give them puppies to play with.

A doggy makes Fridays at school more bearable

Since last September and after an initial test phase, all schools in Wroclaw could bring pets to lessons, in order to make the school environment more pleasant and attract children back to the classroom. Although only a couple of school establishments joined in, the results are promising.

The project, however, does not extend only to the classroom. One of the pioneering establishments - primary school No. 84 for instance, has allowed dogs also in the library, which caused children to spend considerably more time in the reading room. This is the testimony of its librarian Katarzyna Podgórska and the owner of one of the first participating dogs, as quoted on the city website:

Children love to come here. We have even noticed that we have higher attendance at the library, and they borrow more books. His presence is a source of much joy, students are smiling and more at ease with him. In addition, children learn responsibility and how to handle a dog, which is very important”.

The dogs are allowed in the school only after their behaviour towards children has been checked and verified.

The "Dog at school" project is initiated by Barbara Borzymowska, chairman of the Animal Council and spokesman for the mayor of Wrocław for animals. It is organized in cooperation with the Municipal Office of the Center for Friendly People-Animals Relations, Wrocław Office without Barriers.

Borzymowska claims that: “The pandemic led to the fact that children returned to school tense and nervous. And such contact with an animal can change that. The dog calms down, lowers the level of aggression, reduces anxiety, and makes children more likely to go to school and have better results in education.”

She further pointed out that though it is new to Poland, this practice had been tested in other countries and has already become commonplace in Vienna, where dogs are allowed in every school.

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