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Integration of a therapeutic dog into preschool pedagogical practice

Karin Zelko (2015) Integration of a therapeutic dog into preschool pedagogical practice. Diploma work.

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    Children require direct experience with animals in order to develop a positive attitude towards them. That is how a child can shape a realistic picture of the living world and develop a positive perspective towards it. It is important for children to be considerate of and look forward to spending time with animals, as well as to learn how to nurture them. I studied how much children know about the biology of dogs, what their attitude towards dogs is, and if they know how to approach them. I designed activities to help children learn more about it, which included direct experience with dogs. I also investigated the opinion of the kindergarten teacher on using dogs in kindergarten activities. The first step of the research consisted of an interview of eight children, who were asked about the biology of dogs, their needs, body language, and the appropriate way to approach them. The interviews were followed by activities focusing on direct contact with a dog. The children were interviewed again afterwards and the changes in their knowledge of dogs and their handling were substantial. The children were observed throughout all the steps, including their emotional response and the contrast between the initial and final interactions with the dog. The knowledge shown by children during the first interview was satisfactory. All children reported a positive attitude towards dogs, although they were less capable of recognizing dangerous dogs and approaching them properly. During the experience-oriented activities, the children calmed down and became more relaxed. The children were highly motivated and felt happy when anticipating the activities. Fear and discomfort were not noted at all. The results of the second interview have shown that the kids were able to deepen their knowledge on the biology of dogs, identify dangerous dogs and learn how to approach them more properly. The kindergarten teachers also gave positive feedback on the idea of including dogs in kindergarten activities. Animals can help people reduce stress, improve socialization, and give social support. Though often undervalued, they can improve the quality of life of people and complement interpersonal relationships.

    Item Type: Thesis (Diploma work)
    Keywords: dog, attitude towards animals, therapy with dogs, pre-school child
    Number of Pages: 53
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    viš. pred. dr. Marjanca KosMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=10411337)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 2716
    Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2015 13:13
    Last Modified: 30 Jan 2015 13:13
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/2716

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