Harwich Elementary School hosts Book Buddy therapy dogs
Every Friday at Harwich Elementary School, a rotating team of well-trained therapy dogs are “all ears” when they visit the school as part of the K9 Book Buddy program. This program – and the presence of the polite pups – promotes both literacy and social-emotional learning among HES students. During the Friday visits, the dogs first visit classrooms for brief sessions with their owner/handlers, Tom and Jane Wilson, Doug and Elaine Hill, Allison Atwood, and Natali Mahar, so the children can learn about the important jobs these gentle and intelligent K9s have in our community schools, nursing homes, and hospitals. Dog owners, handlers and dogs are certified members of Therapy Dogs International Cape Cod who are working with the K-9 Book Buddy Program at Harwich Elementary School to promote literacy and social-emotional learning among elementary school students. Nancye Dawley is the Director of Therapy Dogs International Cape Cod. For the second half of the visit, students read selected books to their K9 Book Buddy pups. Sharon Hughes, HES Assistant Principal, helped designed this year’s K9 Book Buddy program alongside Nanci Barnett, HES School Psychologist, with essential elements of both literacy and social-emotional support for students. This ties in directly with the HES School Improvement Plan and its focus on supporting the whole child, which ultimately leads to increased achievement. The duality of the program is getting rave reviews from students, staff, and families in the Harwich community.
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