Bringing a pet into the classroom is a great way to teach responsibility, inspire creativity, and increase awareness of the needs and feelings of others. Students will love getting to pitch in and care for their new animal and experience a sense of pride in doing so. However, whether you’re new to the Pets in the Classroom program or not, introducing a new pet to a class of eager students can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. You may want to consider some tips to help make the initial introduction a little easier.
If you have enough time to organize, send home a packet before school starts to prepare students for their new pet. Include a fact sheet about your animal and some specific information on how to care for it so your students have an idea of what to expect. You may even want to add in a page about hygiene and how to correctly handle your pet.
Another option is to visit your local library and select some reading material on your animal. Sendhome a required or optional reading list to get your kids engaged. Consider having a few different types of reading material for them to browse through, like magazines, fictional stories, and non-fiction books. Also, if you can find them, National Geographic or other educational videos can help give your students get an idea of what their new pet will be like.
If none of these options are possible and you are apprehensive about introducing your classroom pet right away, consider leaving your pet at home for the first few weeks until things settle down and then slowly transition your pet into the classroom setting. If this is your pet’s first time in the classroom, he or she may need some time to transition to the new environment as well.
There are plenty of ways to get kids interested and excited about bringing a pet into the classroom. Preparing them ahead of time will make the transition easier for everyone, and in teaching them about their new pet, you’ll learn all about it too. When your pet finally arrives, students will have no problem jumping in and observing, handling, and caring for their newest classmate.