The Blue Dog Schools’ programme in Serbia The Blue Dog arrived in Serbia a few years ago and since then we have done lots of interesting activities with it. The programme is promoted by the Serbian Association of Small Animal Practitioners, and step-by-step, we have developed a unique educational program based on The Blue Dog with the professional help of experienced children’s educators. At the moment our Plavi pas program (Plavi pas means Blue Dog) is supported by the City of Belgrade Secretariat for Social and Children’s Welfare. Children aged between 3 and 7 years in several kinder gardens are participating, together with their teachers, and parents in the final stages of the programme.

Our “Plavi pas” program consists of three phases:

1. In the first phase, trained educators of the Blue Dog team perform workshops with children.  These are organized as follows: They start with an introduction activity – talking with children about pets, the veterinary profession, teaching children our “Plavi pas” song and singing it with them. 

Using the Blue Dog flash cards (downloaded from the website) we divide children in three smaller groups.

  • The first group is a drama section with one of our team members. We try to reproduce real life situations and to teach children a proper behavior both with both familiar and unfamiliar dogs. Teaching children how to behave when meeting stray dogs is emphasized in this section, as this is a particular issue in Belgrade.
  • The second small group plays the Blue Dog game on the computer with the active supervision of one of our team members.
  •  The third group does some craft work based on the Blue Dog with another team member. This may be coloring the Blue Dog pictures downloaded from the website, making the Blue Dog out of cardboard, or making a Blue Dog head model out of colored pastry. During this activity the children also talk about some basic facts about dog’s habits, behavior, body language etc.

Each of these group sessions lasts 15 min after which the children change places. So after 45 minutes, all the children participate in all three workshops.
Throughout, the teachers from the kinder garden observe the activities and are encouraged to participate. Finally, the children are all together and are asked to repeat and show the key points on safe behavior towards dogs. The activity finishes with singing the “Plavi pas”song.

2. In the second phase of our programme we have workshops specifically for teachers, where they are introduced to The Blue Dog, its goals, ideas and teaching methods. They learn the important concepts of the Blue Dog programme from our team members so they can continue the Blue Dog mission in their every day work with children. 

3.    In the third phase, children, teachers, team members and parents have a workshop together. The goal is not only to show the parents what their children have learned, but also to educate them on a proper behavior towards dogs. In this way they will be encouraged to re-enforce the message in the home.

The Blue Dog schools’ programme in Serbia written by Ray Butcher in: Schools