By Madeline Hughes

Last week Wood Hill Middle School had some special visitors.

Dogs and goats joined students as part of the school’s social emotional event kickoff.

“We are coming off a stressful, isolating time and we want to help students prioritize their mental health,” said Principal Patrick Bucco. “If that doesn’t come into play first, then it’s hard for the educational pieces to come back.”

Every grade had their own day to go through seven wellness stations.

Goat yoga and comfort dogs were some of the biggest hits with students.

“Obviously not everyone has a goat, but we are teaching them other coping mechanisms as well,” Bucco said.

Students also went on nature walks, journaled, participated in art therapy and learned about exercise and nutrition, he said.

Wood Hill staff will place a continued emphasis on wellness as the year progresses, Bucco said.

The school social workers and Nurse Elizabeth Canavan were vital to planning for these events, and everyone is excited about the work, Bucco said.

“If staff think its good for the kids they are very supportive,” he said.

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