The purpose of this study was to present empirical evidence about the efficacy of using therapy dogs as teacher adjuncts in schools to promote the social and emotional skills of preschool-aged children. Across a nine-week period of time, preschool-aged children assigned to the treatment condition [T1 (n=17), T2 (n=15)] received 18 morning lessons focused on empathy and humane education. The expectation was that children in these two classrooms would achieve higher levels of empathy as determined by the outcome measures (e.g., EMT) than their peers assigned to the control condition [C (n=15)]. This study employed a mixed-methods approach. The quantitative data and qualitative data yielded conflicting results as to the efficacy of the intervention. Therefore, this study does not offer any unqualified empirical evidence in support of Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAIs) within preschool environments. This study does, however, provide rich information that might enhance the design of future research on the active role of therapy dogs as teacher adjuncts in the teaching of social and emotional knowledge.
Mason N McLary
|Publisher||University of Delaware|
|Location of Publication||Newark, Delaware|
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