Pets in the Classroom – Bringing Nature to School with a Classroom Pet
We are living in the digital age, and kids today are growing up in a world that is technologically advanced, fast-paced, and full of screens of all sizes and shapes providing virtual relationships. Whether it’s a 3-D movie, interactive game, or online communications, kids are more adept with gadgets and apps than we will ever be. But are kids today lacking exposure to some of their most basic, hardwired needs?
Noted environmentalist Paul Shepard argued in his 1992 book Nature and Madness that since humans evolved from hunters and gatherers, we have a need for sustained contact with nature for proper psychological development. His sentiment is echoed by Harvard Biologist E.O. Wilson, who believes that humans thrive in the presence of nature and need to nourish our natural affinity for living creatures.
We can see our affinity for nature in the choices we make: Would you rather sit by a window at work? Do we pay more for views of the ocean and mountains when we buy a house? Are we as thrilled as the kids to visit a zoo and see amazing creatures up close? Do we long for an escape from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives where we can sit on a beach or throw open the windows and breathe in the fresh air?
Author Richard Louv has stated that children today suffer from “nature-deficiency disorder” because they are lacking in the physical and psychological benefits of contact with the natural world. Adding a pet to the classroom offers children an opportunity to unplug from their daily digital lives and reconnect with nature. Whether it is simply observing tree frogs in their aquarium eco-system or handling the classroom hamster and providing for its needs, this daily dose of nature can have a profound impact on children in the digital age.
Learn more about having a pet in your classroom by visiting www.PetsintheClassroom.org.