Following much research, the Preparatory School has decided to ‘employ’ a new member of staff. This is Nala. She is the College’s very first wellbeing dog!
We welcomed her to the College on 8 February, but she is also very happy with the Gallant family being her other home at nights and on weekends. Yes, it is the home of Executive Assistant to Head of the Preparatory School and Deputy Principal, Mrs Alison Gallant, who is also Nala’s trainer and carer. Mrs Gallant is working very closely with Therapy Animals Australia’s Founder and Head Trainer, Dr Brad Rundle, a Melbourne-based expert in understanding and modifying animal behaviour, who has been advising, fortnightly, via Zoom.
Wellbeing dogs can improve school attendance, motivation and confidence, decrease learner anxiety behaviours, and enhance staff and student relationships, resulting in trust and the feeling of unconditional love which comes from having frequent and meaningful contact with a dog. Students learn how to express their feeling and enter into trusting relationships.
Nala is an Australian Cobberdog, who will be especially trained by Mrs Gallant will be capably assisted by Assistant Head of the Senior Preparatory School, Mr Greg Asquith; Assistant Head of the Junior Preparatory School, Mr David Ikin; and, Kindergarten Teacher, Miss Kate Stoddard.
Dr Brad Rundle and his team will be leading the training of Nala, as she prepares for her adventures at the Preparatory School campuses. Initially, the arrangement will be for the next 12 months. Nala will be interacting with students in the classroom, in a safe, calm and controlled environment, for short one-on-one visits and interactions.
And, yes, you may recognise her name from The Lion King movie. Say hello to Nala, soon!
Caption: Australia Day 2022. First swim, on a very hot day in Coogee.