Toby The Westfield Reading Dog
Recent research has shown the vast benefits of schools having a reading assistance dog. We have identified many aspects of our curriculum that would be enhanced by having such a dog. The dog’s main curriculum focus is Reading. All pupils get the opportunity to read to our dog, thus building their confidence when reading out loud. There are weekly visits planned for each class.
Additionally, our Home School Liaison Mrs Chris Cramp, works with the dog, providing extra support for children who struggle with confidence, low self-esteem and anger issues. He is used to build up resilience and promote respect and an empathetic understanding, therefore enabling children to communicate better about their feelings and other aspects of their social life.
Toby, Westfield’s own Cockapoo is the perfect dog for all of these purposes. Cockapoos are a non-moulting breed, meaning they are practically hypoallergenic. All relevant risk assessment are in place for Toby, and an adult is always accompanying him on a lead around School, but we appreciate that some children may feel unsure about him initially. Luckily, Toby is a super friendly dog, and all of our children adore him. He even has his own song, and has had a television programme made about him and his work in school.