In March 2021, thanks to our qualified teacher Franci C. and her dog Sumo, we launched with great success the Chatterpaws project, which since then we have offered every year to the youngest classes, from Starters to Year 1 (18 months - 6 years old).
It is a project about getting to know and interacting with a pet.
Franci C and Sumo - a 3 year old French bulldog who, despite his somber expression, is comical, very funny and reliable, have been thoroughly trained to offer our children the chance to live an experience full of emotions, which will encourage them to open up to new ways of communicating with each other, with the dog and with educators, to new interests, to new aspects of reality, and which will help them to come into more profound contact with their emotions and feelings.
In fact, interaction with animals promotes the emotional and social development of children, encouraging empathy, kindness and responsibility. Furthermore, the presence of animals can reduce stress and anxiety and improve motor and cognitive skills, encouraging active participation and stimulating children's curiosity. Overall, the inclusion of animals in educational activities can promote a more engaging and fulfilling learning environment, and it is precisely for these reasons that our educational program includes, on several occasions, encounters with animals and insects, through field trips to educational farms, natural parks or experts visits to school.
The Chatterpaws project will gradually introduce children to the relationship with Sumo to help them become familiar with his presence in the school environment. In the first introductory session, in particular, the children prepare for the meeting with Sumo with the help of stuffed dogs, learning how to approach them safely and how to interact with them.
At the end of the session the children are normally asked to draw their favorite dog.
After that, they meet Sumo in the flesh, approach him, pet him, give him treats and play with him.
Our children love being with him and consider him to be the Chatterbox mascot!