Lilly is the one of a kind Goodstart employee bringing joy to Morwell Central

Lilly is the one of a kind Goodstart employee bringing joy to Morwell Central

by Freya Lucas

July 01, 2020

Lilly is 50 kilograms of love, and greets children and families every day when they arrive at Goodstart Early Learning Morwell Central.  She supports children with regulating their emotions, and her gentle encouragement helps them to try new things. 


She is a three year old Bernese mountain dog, the first Certified Therapy Dog to work full-time in an early learning centre in the country, and, as a full time employee, she has one main job, and that is to support children and staff to feel loved and supported as they go about their day.


Goodstart Early Learning Morwell Central director Nathan Brown told local publication LaTrobe Valley Express that he went on a two-year waiting list before getting Lilly, who was chosen after he researched the best breeds to be therapy dogs. 


Lilly undertook temperament training until she turned one and in October 2018 passed her formal training with Lead the Way Training Institute in Melbourne, Mr Brown told the paper.


She began her career in early childhood working alongside Mr Brown at another Goodstart service in Traralgon, before moving to Morwell when the service was opened earlier this year. 


Families who use the service, Mr Brown said, see Lilly as a core component of the centre and team, coming in earlier to engage with her. She also supports staff who might be feeling anxious or overwhelmed. 


“A therapy dog holds the same certificate as the person who is handling her, she works therapeutically” Mr Brown explained, outlining that Lilly is able to offer animal assisted education.


More information about therapy dogs, and how they may support young children, is available here


To read the original article about Lilly, as published in the LaTrobe Valley Express, please see here