Of course it isn’t possible for all little children to take their pets to school but studies have shown that pets can be a wonderful teaching resource. Some schools around the world allow for pets to be brought on certain days, such as those of festivals and other times weekly pets are brought in so the children can share what they know about the species and their care. It is the contention of many educators that allowing classroom pets would be good for the children for a great number of reasons.
An Introduction to the Animal Kingdom
When children are allowed to actually interact with various animals they get a first-hand, up-close look at some pretty amazing species. Not all children have dogs and cats as a family pet. Some families have exotic birds whilst others have reptiles and still others marsupials. Although few families have a kangaroo, perhaps the most famous of these pouched critters, a popular marsupial pet is the sugar glider that is a tiny creature that lives on insects and nectar. In fact, this in itself is a great teaching aid because the children learn terms such as insectivorous and nectivorous. In recent years, sugar gliders have become quite popular and are really not that expensive to purchase. Imagine having one in the class as the class pet?
Learning to Care for Pets
One of the most important lessons to be learned from supervised pet care is how important it is to be responsible. Teachers can relate taking care of the animal to the way a child’s parent cares for him or her. When they are hungry, they get fed. But they don’t get fed just anything because certain foods are toxic to pets just as certain foods are toxic to children. Teachers can explain how they purchase the right formulations from a source such as an Italian negozio animali online, literally translated as an ‘online pet store.’
Whereas chocolate can do harm to a dog, children shouldn’t have too much either and an astute teacher can make this connection for the class quite nicely. Pets need to be bathed and their crates or cages need to be sanitised regularly as well. All of these tasks are an important part of the learning process for young children. It’s a shame more classrooms don’t take advantage of resources like these.
Psychological and Emotional Therapy
It has been well substantiated that the act of petting a dog, cat or other domesticated animal has a soothing effect on the body. People who are tense and anxious calm down, their blood pressure drops and they feel a sense of wellness by that very act of stroking and being close to the pet. It would be nice if all children lived in a home with a well-adjusted family life but this is not realistic. Many come from broken homes, homes where drug and alcohol abuse is rampant and some have even been sexually or emotionally abused and/or neglected. Having a pet to cuddle and bond with is often so therapeutic that marked improvements in behavioural responses are seen almost immediately.
With all of these amazing benefits to having classroom pets, it’s a wonder why more schools don’t make it part of the curriculum. Even so, we can be thankful for the teachers and headmasters who allow pets in the classroom and are willing to go the extra mile for their precious charges.