Zeeka - Our Therapy & Reading Dog

We would like to introduce Zeeka, our therapy and reading dog who is starting at our kura

this Term. Zeeka will be based in Room 4, with Whaea Claire Johnson.

Whaea Claire reached out to all the NZ rescue dog charities to find a suitable dog that was

right for us. After careful consideration, ensuring she had the right temperament and the

correct medical checks, Zeeka came from Kawakawa, in the far north, to work with our

tamariki.

Zeeka offers support in learning, behaviour, and wellbeing. With her friendly and gentle

nature, she teaches students how to build positive, caring, and respectful relationships. She

offers them comfort when needed and listens to their reading, writing and problem solving.

Zeeka also helps students come to school on those tougher days and helps with breaking down barriers to learning.

The value of a therapy pet is widely accepted as a powerful aid to stimulation and communication. There are extensive

studies about this form of therapy, so if you have any questions or want to know more, Claire would be happy to let you

meet Zeeka, have a chat about our programme or forward you some information.

Zeeka visits the dog exercise area by the rugby ground during break times. For the rest of the time Zeeka is in Room 4,

working with our tamariki, or resting, in her designated safe space, in the back room of the class.

We ask you to be kind to Zeeka, and not act in any way to upset her. Please do not feed Zeeka.

We care deeply for Zeeka and want to ensure she enjoys her time at school as much as we do.

Any questions, please get in touch with Whaea Claire at c_johnson@coroarea.school.nz or ring the School Office.

What are the benefits of a school dog?

• Improved pupil behaviour and concentration,

• Reduces stress and improved self-esteem,

• A calming effect on pupils,

• Encourages expression, participation and confidence in all children,

• Fostering a sense of responsibility,

• Motivating pupils to think and to learn,

• Encouraging respect and thereby improving pupils' relationships with each other, parents and teachers,

• Teaching children to nurture and respect life,

• Helping work undertaken with the most vulnerable children,

• Helping overcome a fear of dogs,

• Increasing staff morale and wellbeing,

• Developing the understanding of unconditional love,

• Supporting with the development of cooperative play,

• Supporting children to develop empathy,

• Further promote our wellbeing agenda for pupils,

• Enthusiasm for and enjoyment of animals,

• Helping children build confidence in reading,

• Improving attendance.

How has the school planned for this?

• Research was carried out to ensure that Zeeka is a suitable breed of dog for our school, pupils and staff and has a temperament

suitable for interaction with children.

• Time was spent connecting with other schools who have a therapy dog to ensure we have our systems and processes sorted prior

to Zeeka’s arrival, and to understand the benefits these schools have seen.

• Our Board of Trustees have ensured permission has been granted by all parents of students currently in Room 4. Students who

may work with Zeeka in the future will also require permission from Parents/Caregivers.

• Movement of Zeeka around the school will be controlled and all visitors will be made aware of her presence onsite.

• A full risk assessment plan has been written and is available at the School Office and on our website.

• All contact will be carefully planned, and children will not be left unsupervised with Zeeka

• Zeeka’s comfort and safety are of paramount importance too. She will have a safe, quiet space to relax when needed.

• All areas of the school are vacuumed, and surfaces are wiped down daily

• Any child working with Zeeka will wash and sanitise their hands afterwards

• We will be considerate of any students who have allergies put precautions in place to avoid contact.