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NGC Presents Our First-Ever 'Pet Day'!

With 3 in 5 Australians households owning at least one pet, many of us will recognise the instant mood lift that occurs when your dog greets you at the front door, or the comfort of a cat snoozing peacefully on your lap. In fact, 87% of pet owners state that they have experienced mental health improvements as a result. In recent years, there has been extensive research that confirms this, including a Royal Australian College of General Practitioners study which shows that being in the presence of animals decreases anxiety, depression and loneliness and provides a sense of purpose and social support "that has similar effects to human-human relationships."

This is what has motivated NGC to integrate animals into our programs to support our student's emotional and social wellbeing. In response to increasing research into the benefits of animal-assisted therapy modalities, our principal, Andrea Cingi emphasises that we are always looking for opportunities to bring these into both classroom and extracurricular contexts.

"NGC supports the most vulnerable young people in our community, including those who are exhibiting complex behaviours, experiencing learning challenges and low literacy, recovering from trauma or navigating life with disabilities like ADHD and autism.

There is clear evidence that animal-assisted learning and interactions are highly effective for these groups of young people. We see it first-hand; when our students are participating in an equine therapy activity or spending time with the therapy dog that visits our school weekly, they are calmer, more focused, and better able to regulate their emotions and behaviours. The impact is quite profound and immediate."

We have branched out even further this year, with the creation of the very first 'NGC Pet Day' on Thursday April 12th 2024.

This much-anticipated initiative was the brainchild of our Year 12 Investigating Science class and wonderful Science teacher, Janice Montgomery. Our young people took responsibility for developing and pitching the concept to the school executive and planning a creative programme of events that prioritised fun and pet, student and staff welfare and safety.

Both students and staff brought in a grand total of 13 dogs and one rabbit for a full day of activities. This included young people photographing their furry models, creating collages for an interactive display and participating in a dog parade around the COLA. The latter incorporated music and a student MC, trick demonstrations and peer voting for categories such as "Best Behaved", "Most Distracted" and "Most Graceful Manner".

Our Science teacher, Janice says the event not only encouraged strategic thinking, problem solving and teamwork, but also had enormous benefits for students' confidence and social connection.

"It was an incredibly connective experience for our young people. I saw some of our shyest students, who can often go a whole day without uttering a word, talk non-stop and buzz with excitement. Animals are such an important bonding agent for young people who would otherwise struggle to participate due to anxiety, stress and extreme introversion.

As an educator, it feels fantastic to see them become so energised and focused in order to bring something like this to life. We have decided to make it an annual event, but students are already petitioning to make it part of our school calendar every term!"


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