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Children's emotions upon the inclusion of a therapy dog into the kindergarten

Špela Velepec (2019) Children's emotions upon the inclusion of a therapy dog into the kindergarten. Diploma thesis.

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    In the graduation thesis, I focused on emotional reactions of children in case of inclusion of a therapeutic animal in a kindergarten group. The graduation thesis is divided into two major parts: theoretical and empirical. The theoretical part is further divided into two parts. In the first part, I defined feelings and emotional process. Further, I presented the area of feelings, division of feelings, definitions of some feelings, and development of feelings in early childhood. In the second part of the theoretical part, I defined therapeutic animals – a dog – and ways of including dogs into a kindergarten group. Further, I presented explanations of effects of including animals in the child’s life and relationship of children to animals. Based on the research, I wanted to establish, how children emotionally responded prior every meeting with a therapeutic dog, during and after first encounter with a therapeutic dog, as well as potential differences in emotional responses of children among the second and third meeting with a therapeutic dog and after the meeting. The sample included twelve children of the second age period (4–6 years). I used interview in order to obtain the data on how children felt prior and after the meetings. I prepared the interview, as well as sheets with ten emotional symbols, which were drawn by the art teacher. During the meeting, the researches (me and two teachers) recorded emotional reactions into Observational Scheme of Feelings prepared by S. Prosen and H. Smrtnik Vitulić (2011). The research revealed that children were excited about the inclusion of the therapeutic animal prior meetings, and that they expressed a wish to meet the therapeutic dog. I also established that joy was the most commonly recorded feeling during the first meeting when children were observing it and had a direct contact with it. Most commonly, the feeling of joy was expressed with laughter and a smile. During the first meeting with the therapeutic dog, we also often noticed the feeling of fear, most commonly during the work of a child with the therapeutic dog despite the presence of the guide. I also established that all children wanted to meet the therapeutic dog again. Based on the obtained data, I established that after several meetings with the therapeutic dog, expression of joy increased, while a feeling of fear decreased. At the same time, expressing a feeling of expectation increased. The finding that the feelings of joy and expectation were frequently recorded should encourage us to believe that we shall give children opportunity to interact with therapeutic animals also in kindergarten more often.

    Item Type: Thesis (Diploma thesis)
    Keywords: feelings, expressing feelings, therapeutic animal, pre-school children, kindergarten
    Number of Pages: 70
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Simona ProsenMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/12362569
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5658
    Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2019 12:00
    Last Modified: 28 Mar 2019 12:00
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5658

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