The Educational Value of Having Pets in the Classroom – Pets provide many new ways to learn in the classroom. Teachers can use these lessons for many things and subjects, the list is endless. You can use having animals to enhance so many areas of education. I have some ideas and I would love for you to post them. Have you done this in your classroom? Share your experience.
Make a care plan with your students.
Who is going to take care of the animal? What a great way to teach them to take turns? Each child will have the opportunity to be responsible for feeding and caring for the animal, even cleaning the “house” of pets should be a shared responsibility. Make a poster or bulletin board to be fair when giving each student a turn with the mascot.
Who is going to name the pet? What a great way to teach them to vote and that their vote really makes a difference.
Ideas to use in the classroom:
Math: how much the animal weighs, how tall is the animal, how much will it cost to feed the animal, use a measuring cup for food and water. The possibilities are endless.
Scientific learning about how to care for the pet, what kind of habitat does the pet need, what kind of food is better, what part of the world did this animal originate from? Let your students help out by bringing things to the habitat. Let each student choose something that they would like to contribute to the pet that will help them understand what it takes to care for an animal.
English / Language Arts: What words would children use to describe the classroom pet? They can make journal entries every day to use their spelling and grammar skills. Each day choose another topic about the animal that they can write about. Use some of the words for spelling or vocabulary tests. Sure you have many more ideas. Share them in the comment section.
Children can learn social skills by taking turns caring for the animal. They learn compassion and empathy. Animals in the classroom also have a calming effect on classroom behavior. They reduce aggression and encourage spontaneous communication between students and teachers. Even verbal communication with the animal is excellent. Even children with special needs have been documented to do much better with pets, what better way to help a child who is frustrated with holding a furry animal? Not that you’re looking to add a trained “special needs dog” to your classroom or anything else, but snuggling with a hamster can have the same kind of calming effect on the child.
Be sure to check with parents before choosing a pet for the classroom. The last thing you want is a child allergic to a pet you have chosen.
Have fun with your new pet and you will be surprised how well your children will love and care for this animal.