Students building bonds with furry animals through DOE program

Students at P.S. 70 in the Bronx are building relationships with not just their friends at school, but with dogs!
The Comfort Dog program is offered by the Department of Education as a different approach in assessing what students need all while learning how to train and create goal-based practices that can help students be successful.
Kirsten Kinsella, the administrator and trainer at the school, says it's helped students with communication and overcoming behavior issues that they may be facing. Students also incorporate mediation exercises with the animals.
Kinsella says it has been crucial, especially hard after the pandemic. "We have quite a few students that didn't want to come to school, so they were part of the program where they picked up the dog with us in the morning, we did the feeding, we did their training before they went into their individual classes. So that's a way that they're happy when they come in rather than us working backwards and the students struggling," says Kinsella.
Kinsella says as of now the dogs are in the school three days a week. She says nearly 53 schools are currently taking part in the program.