Weaving Trauma, Connection, Belonging, and Empathy with Therapy Dogs Through Social Emotional Learning

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Pellow, Selby
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As social emotional learning and mental health becomes more of a focus for school districts, so much so, as to include them as a target in strategic plans, it is vital that districts utilize non-traditional methods to support students. The use of therapy dogs to support emotional wellbeing is not new to the school system, but successful integration to see therapy dogs and their handlers as a team to teach the social emotional curriculum, is an area that is still being researched. The goal of this capstone is to provide educators, school counsellors, and school districts with information around enhancing social emotional learning for students with trauma in schools with the use of therapy dogs. Using the foundations of attachment theory, animal assisted therapy, and person-centered theory, in chapter 3 I will propose a series of lessons aimed at incorporating the use of therapy dogs into the SEL curriculum for students in kindergarten to grade three. It is hoped that this capstone will provide school districts with an outline to support the integration of a therapy dog program into their social emotional learning curriculums, to best support students with trauma.
animal assisted therapy , social emotional learning , complex trauma , therapy dog , human animal bond , human animal interaction
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess