Valdosta City Schools using stuffed animal to teach better behaviors

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Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 10:38 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Valdosta City Schools (VCS) is introducing a new strategic way to get kids to respond.

Valdosta City Schools welcomed Bouncy, a new stuffed service dog to teach positive behavioral expectations in a fun yet knowledgeable way.

VCS officials said they started this department-wide for all Pre-K through first grade students to help teach their school motto, “ROAR.”

“Today, we took a test in the class and the students got to pet him while they were taking the test if they were sitting quietly,” said Mrs. Jowers, a teacher at Sallas Mahone Elementary. “So, it’s a great way to motivate those who don’t want to stay quiet during a test, to stay on task and to ‘ROAR’ in our classroom.”

Bouncy also looks different. He has a prosthetic, and different colored eyes, among other characteristics to teach kids to treat everyone the same. He tells stories and takes deep breaths for the kids when they get upset.

“So our kids really like Bouncy in the classroom,” said Jowers. “They definitely want to have access to Bouncy. We’ve used it many times in the classroom to calm students down when they’re upset about not being able to do something. So Bouncy is a great tool to have in the classroom. Sometimes I use him with his breathing technique and sometimes I don’t.”

Every classroom has its own personal Bouncy and every student has a miniature version of Bouncy at the teacher’s discretion.

“I just had a student ask me from Mrs. Jowers’ class, I want to get to hold Bouncy too,” said Principal Dr. Atrice Haugabrook. “So, they want to hold Bouncy. It encourages them to do well and make good decisions.”

School leaders say Bouncy is doing a great job.