Pickle the school dog improves student wellbeing

Francis Jordan Catholic School teacher Rachael Araujo and students Jack Rudd (7), Gabriella Gregory (8), Tyson Davies (8), Ryan Liu (7), Emma Yasay (7), and Jacob Collie (7) with wellbeing dog Pickle. Picture: David Baylis d496741
Francis Jordan Catholic School teacher Rachael Araujo and students Jack Rudd (7), Gabriella Gregory (8), Tyson Davies (8), Ryan Liu (7), Emma Yasay (7), and Jacob Collie (7) with wellbeing dog Pickle. Picture: David Baylis d496741

AT just one year old, Francis Jordan Catholic School’s latest staff member is making a huge difference in improving the emotional wellbeing of students.

The Currambine school introduced Pickle and the Wellbeing Dog Program this year to enhance its existing wellness programs and ensure mental health and wellbeing continued to be a priority for students.

The cavoodle now attends school every Tuesday for “pat and chat” sessions where children can walk her, play simple ball games and read with her.

Pickle has also taken part in a Year 2 wellbeing day where children participated in meditation, mindful colouring and made stress balls.

“Pickle has been especially useful to teach children about responsibility as they learn to care for our school dog,” technology and extension teacher Rachael Araujo said.

Francis Jordan Catholic School students Jack Rudd (7) of Burns Beach, Emma Yasay (7) of Currambine holding Pickle (1) and Ryan Liu (7) of Clarkson. Picture: David Baylis

“She offers an opportunity for improving social development in students, including building communication skills and self-esteem.

“She has also empowered students to communicate and has been a gentle, loving influence for those children who are struggling academically, emotionally or with difficulties at home.”

One student, Henry, said Pickle made him “feel happy”.

“Pickle makes our school great because she motivates students to come to school,” he said.

Emma said “she lights up my day” and Sophie said she loved Pickle because “even if I am really sad she always makes me feel happy”.

Ava added that Pickle made her “feel brave and confident within myself”.

“A bad day can affect your work so a school dog can help you,” she said.

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