May 21, 2024

Thumbs up or thumbs down? This question is addressed to children at the Heinrich Garm Kindergarten in Memmingen. They need to learn what Rocky the dog can and cannot eat. When it comes to tissues, glue, and even scissors, it’s obvious to kids that these aren’t on the menu. One of the children reported that “dog treats” were okay.

children learn rules and responsibilities

“We petted him,” says the girl. “We are learning and playing with him,” says the boy. Rocky is the dog of daycare director Louisa Fisher. Fisher had already focused on animal-assisted pedagogy during her training. And Rocky is a trained kindergarten dog. “What’s appropriate, what’s allowed, and where should we be careful?” These are questions kids should pay attention to, Fisher said. They are also taught that Rocky is a living thing and should be okay. Children also learn many other basic things with dogs that are taught in kindergarten.

Differences from dogs can help children develop self-awareness

Differences between humans and dogs also play an important role. For example, children realize that dogs have fur, but they only have skin. Children also learn a lot about their own body awareness. “When the children pet the dog, they feel themselves, but they also feel the wet tongue,” day care center manager Louisa Fisher says of her daily life with Rocky.

Kindergarten dogs are supported by the city

The city is supporting Rocky’s visits to the children as the kindergarten’s founder. “If the wearer didn’t say yes, I wouldn’t have Rocky,” Fisher emphasizes. Jörg Haldenmayer, director of the Memmingen City Department for Families, Youth and Social Affairs, said it was important for kindergarten dogs to develop long-term relationships with specific institutions. “Rocky has set working hours, if you can call it that. This is important from an animal welfare perspective,” Haldenmayer said. Something like this can only be done if someone brings their own suitable dog to the nursery. Rocky has both, so the kids have access to him four times a week for about an hour and a half each time.

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