As you teachers gear up for the new school year, you may be looking for inventive ways to enhance your curriculum and improve your educational environment. We at Pets in the Classroom would love for you to consider one tool that many teachers have found beneficial:  classroom pets.  Whether it be creating more excitement for learning, providing a warm and welcoming environment, or improving your classroom socially and academically, classroom pets can and have been making an impact across the country.  Here’s how:

Pets aid in improving school attendance – Students become excited about school because they get to see their animal friends.

My kids were excited about school and the pets.  They told their parents, their friends and their siblings.  Every day after school I had people in my room talking about, learning about and appreciating an animal most of them never had any experience with.

Cynthia Hansford
Las Vegas, NV

Pets encourage nurturing – Kids soon learn that if they want their classroom pet to be happy and healthy, they’ll need to treat it carefully and kindly.

Students know a certain noise level must be maintained for her little ears. They know if they want to hold her, they must be gentle…actions must be taken to care for her…and so on. It has stepped the level of responsibility up in my room and students have taken an interest in something other than themselves!

Erin Eberhart
Johnson City, TN

Pets build self esteem – Helping to take care of a pet gives a child a sense of pride and accomplishment.

It [project on classroom pets] has built up their confidence and creativity within themselves. Students that are often quiet and a little withdrawn in class have been more outspoken.  

Jason Powell
Weaverville, North Carolina

Pets promote empathy – By caring for a pet, children develop an increased awareness of the needs and feelings of others, and see how their actions affect their little friends.

When school first started six weeks ago, I had to write multiple referrals per day for violent acts. Since Ella the Guinea Pig came to share our classroom, I have not any violent acts and the noise level has gone way down because they don’t want her to be frightened. The best part is watching the empathy they developed for Ella begin to transfer to their peers. Ella has done something in four weeks that I may or may not have been able to do all year.

Marie Roberts
Fort Worth, TX

Pets teach responsibility – Having to take care of a pet builds a sense of responsibility in children.

The most important thing that I saw was students taking responsibility for more than just themselves. I had one student who was the most active and impulsive student in my class be the calmest and most responsible when they were taking care of and interacting with “Monkey” our class hamster.

Rebecca Brown
Knoxville, TN

Pets stimulate learning – When classroom pets are included in the lesson plan, students will approach learning with a new enthusiasm and interest.

My students have been performing better academically as well as behavior wise.   The pets help motivate my students to learn.  When they are used in a lesson, my students are automatically interested in learning the material because it has to do with something they like.

Diana Albanez
Los Angeles, CA

Pets enrich the classroom experience – Not only do pets bring a new excitement for learning, but they provide a warm and welcoming environment for students.

Pets in the Classroom has allowed me to create a classroom atmosphere that is open and welcoming. By enabling me the opportunity to bring in and support the needs of animals that my students would not normally have the chance to interact directly with, we’ve created a unique and stimulating learning environment.”

Rodney Crouse
Greensboro, NC

Pets become friends. Pets provide kids with unconditional love and support. They become a confidant and a non-judgmental friend.

When the students are having a hard time, they sit and talk to Chewie and Lucy and tell them their problems.  Our two guinea pigs have taught my students the importance of taking care of someone else, it has increased their communication skills, as well as increased their social emotional development.

Melissa Stark
New York, NY

Whether in mainstream classrooms, special needs classrooms, or classrooms for students with autism, classroom pets are making a difference.  Our recent research study reflects these benefits, as seen by the many accounts from teachers.  If you have experienced the benefits of classroom pets and would like to share your story with us, please leave us a comment on our Facebook page! Or, if you would like to find out more about Pets in the Classroom, our grant program that provides funding to teachers to purchase and maintain classroom pets, visit www.PetsintheClassroom.org.

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