Lilly, the three-year-old Bernese mountain dog works fulltime at the centre providing a range of services to children and staff.
She is the first Certified Therapy Dog to work full-time in an early learning centre in the country.
Lilly’s human, Nathan Brown tells us “she is 50 kilos of love and fluff! She likes lots of cuddles and being read stories, she especially likes having her back rubbed.”
Research shows therapy dogs can reduce stress physiologically and increase attachment responses that trigger oxytocin – a hormone that increases trust in humans.
“Lilly is great at calming children, easing loneliness and encouraging them to socialise with others while at the centre” Nathan said.
“Children practice reading to Lilly because she’s non-threatening and non-judgemental which allows the children to overcome any issues they may have.”
The response from children and parents at the centre is always amazing. “Lilly is always supervised with children. When new children start, Educators will talk to them about how to care for Lilly, dog safety, and let them know what Lilly likes and doesn’t like. If families are nervous about dogs, we work together to make a plan to support their family’s introduction to Lilly.”
"Lilly's job is really to go around and in essence to give love and be loved," Mr Brown said.
Goodstart Morwell Central works in partnership with the Department of Education. This enables the Centre to provide an integrated service to the local community and to support the growth and wellbeing of Morwell children and families.
This is just one of the many amazing unique offerings our centres offer their communities.
You can follow Lilly on Instagram!