Complete with a parakeet named Grace, guppies, snails, dwarf frogs, ghost shrimp, sword tails, and a bristle nose pleco, Rodney Crouse’s first grade classroom at Vandalia Elementary School is brimming and bustling with activity. Specializing in science curriculum, Mr. Crouse originally heard about the Pets in the Classroom grant program while researching possibilities of financial support to help him bring an aquarium into his classroom environment to study living organisms and ecosystems.
With over 38,000 classroom grants issued to date and 1.9 million students impacted, Mr. Crouse’s class is one example of the opportunity provided to experience the stimulating experience, the joy, and love of uniting kids with a hands-on pet education.
“In my experience,” Mr. Crouse explains, “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.”
“In terms of applying lessons and having the pets physically inside the classroom, my kids are able to observe, compare, and contrast their needs. We use Venn diagrams, flow charts, and observation notebooks. During creative writing, my students can pretend to be one of the featured organisms and write a perspective piece on what it would be like to be that organism for a day. Whatever the lesson plan, it’s a great teaching tool to have life happening right in front of them.”
To learn more about the Pets in the Classroom grant program that provides financial support to Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade teachers in both private and public schools for the purpose of purchasing and maintaining classroom pets, please visit www.petsintheclassroom.org.