It seems that Frontrunner is getting a little more notice in the US as well as here – in the media, at least.
The latest thing is an article on dogs as therapy quoting information about the Frontrunner Learning Centre in Rooty Hill.
The magazine, Iheartdogs, deals with all sorts of issues surrounding dogs and has quite a large readership. they originally asked about using dogs as therapy in schools and were fascinated by the way that the Rooty Hill Centre uses dogs to help children. In the article, they spoke to Martin from the Rooty Hill Centre as well as people from hospitals and school
Frontrunner Learning Centres in Sydney,(sic) Australia is an after school tutoring program. Part of their work includes assessing children who may have learning problems and then developing strategies to teach them.
The Centre opened twenty years ago, and they have been having dogs present during lessons for much of that time.
“Our experience is best exemplified by the presence of our beloved (but no longer with us), miniature black poodle, Leo. Leo was a gentle, loving dog that seemed to understand children very well. Unlike most small dogs, he loved children – as long as they were not overly boisterous. One day, a new child started at our practice and, being slightly behind in developmental stages, this 7 year old cried when mum left the office. To put the child at ease, we put him on a computer activity so he could relax. In the meantime, I brought a chair close to the child and called for Leo. He came and, on command, jumped onto the spare chair. I asked the boy to look after Leo for me by patting him while doing the computer work. Within moments, the boy’s cries had become minor sobs while he worked the computer keyboard with his left hand while patting Leo with his right. A few minutes later, he was happily working on the computer with Leo on his lap. This child loved our tutoring and was happy to come because Leo had made lessons better for him.”
Martin Marszal, Director Frontrunner Learning Centres.
Marszal says it’s not unusual to have kids insist on having a dog near them while working.
“It seems that children, like adults, are more relaxed, more easily taught, when there are pets around,”
The centers also play baroque music in the background. We get complaints about the music, never about the dogs, he says.
To read the article, click here to go to the iheartdogs website and the article.Return to ARTICLES