It is wonderful when children have the opportunity to interact with nature. Of course, this can be accomplished by taking the children outdoors to explore what nature has to offer. Having living plants and/or animals indoors is a bonus. The children will not only have the opportunity to observe, but they will also have the privilege of feeding and caring for the plant or animal. Having living things in your classroom will enhance your teaching and enrich the children’s learning opportunities.
As the website indicates, Pets in the Classroom “has demonstrated that pets bring out students’ creativity, stimulate learning and improve classroom socialization. Pets also promote a sense of responsibility, empathy and compassion for all living creatures. These are necessary skill sets the digital age has negatively impacted that we are establishing successfully through this program.”
Educational grants are available through Pet Smart/Petco to bring pets into your classroom. The opportunity is available to any preschool classroom within a center or public/private school (currently does not include family care providers). There are many pets available through the grant program, including hamsters, fish, birds, geckos and hermit crabs, to name just a few. The website offers information on which pets are the easiest to care for, as well as care sheets designed for the specific pet that you choose. Additionally, the web site will walk you through the various things you will need to consider before applying for the grant.
Bringing pets into your classroom can make a lasting impact on your children’s lives, and Pets in the Classroom is an easy way to do that.
For information on best practices and recommended pets for child care, please consult Caring for Our Children.