Hello! My name is Wilbur Heaven and I am going to be the Sidegate School Therapy Dog. I am a five-year-old yellow labrador and I love walks in the forest, my local park and the beach; chasing my ball; sleeping in strange positions and; eating anything and everything I can get my paws on. I am going to be coming to school on Mondays and Tuesdays and can't wait to get to know as many of you as possible. If you would like to know more, Mrs Heaven has put some important documents at the bottom of this page with lots of useful information for you and your families.
Information for families
One of the things we pride ourselves on at Sidegate, is the quality of pastoral care we extend to our pupils and their families. We are always looking for ways to enhance our offer and we are currently working hard to introduce a new ‘trauma informed’ approach to behaviour management, with a number of our staff undertaking specific training to support this. For many years, it has been recognised that animals can play a significant role in supporting and developing well-being and as part of our overall approach we have exciting plans for Sidegate.
Some of you may recall that introducing a school therapy dog was one of the winning manifesto pledges of our Year 5 election last year. At the time, it received the full support of the Senior Leadership Team because we could see the huge potential for a therapy dog to support the pastoral and academic needs of all of our pupils. We already have some first hand experience of the potential benefits as our SEU classes have accessed a therapy dog for many years.
Consequently, we will be trialling the introduction of Wilbur Heaven (Mrs Heaven's five-year-old yellow labrador) as a Sidegate Therapy Dog. As Wilbur settles into the school environment, he will begin to fulfil a number of roles. For example, he will provide comfort for anyone in distress; help to provide a distraction for anyone feeling angry or upset; be a good and non-judgemental listener to children who want to talk or read their books; and support social interaction in nurture groups.
Please have a look at the documents linked below for further information about the trial and how we are planning on safely integrating Wilbur into school life.