‘Therapy bunny’ to offer emotional support for pupils at Oasis Academy Limeside
Oasis Academy Limeside have been preparing to welcome the school’s first ever pet in over a decade!
Principal Ms L Norris, introduced the idea of having a pet on site, explaining that the rabbit is going to be a huge part of school life and will support children with their social and emotional well-being when they need it most. The rabbit is yet to be named but staff have given the pupils the opportunity to choose a name for her.
Ms Norris explained that good social, emotional, and mental wellbeing create the foundations for healthy behaviours and improved educational attainment.
“We know that a child’s emotional health and wellbeing influences their cognitive development and learning, as well as their physical and social health and their mental wellbeing in adulthood.”
Pets enhance the learning environment and encouraging children at the academy to take an interest in animals will have a positive effect on them and will help the children to regulate when they are feeling big emotions such as nerves, anxiety, stress, worry and being generally overwhelmed.
Oasis Academy Limeside’s rationale for having a school pet, lists many beneficial reasons for having the rabbit. For example, it will motivate children to think and to learn, as they have a high level of natural interest, enthusiasm, and enjoyment of animals, encourage a respect and reverence for life in children and thereby improve their relationships with their peers, parents, and teachers, foster a sense of responsibility in children, teach children to nurture and respect life, improve academic achievement, and so much more.
Examples of how she will be used in school: reading programmes: pupils who might be embarrassed to read aloud to the class or even adults are less likely to be scared to read to an animal. ELSA sessions (Emotional Literacy Support intervention): school pets can be used within ELSA sessions to teach empathy and responsibility. Reward: Children who have shown our Limeside way may also be rewarded with time with the rabbit. Ownership: Walking, cleaning out the environment, grooming, playing and training are some of the responsibilities children will be allowed to undertake.
“We are very excited to announce the arrival of our newest member to the Limeside family- our baby lop-eared rabbit! We are thrilled to be able to offer our children the opportunity to be involved and we are excited to see the benefits she will bring!”
Parents and local members of the community have commented on the academy’s Facebook post sharing their excitement, as well as their children who attend the school. One member wrote: “Can I please book in with the therapy bunny?”
The primary school were delighted to share back in July that they had received the ADHD Friendly Schools Award from the ADHD Foundation, which certifies that the academy welcomes all learners to achieve their academic potential.