Did you know that when it comes to educational engagement, empathy building, character development, and community enhancement, teachers are seeing significant value in having classroom pets? Here’s what a few teachers are saying:
I teach in an inner city school, where there are many kids suffering from academic, social and emotional difficulties. Having a classroom pet for the students to take care of and love has helped many of these children. I think that the biggest benefit of having [Ruby the rabbit] is that she teaches empathy. My students often remind each other to keep the noise level down, because rabbits scare easily and the noise may be upsetting her. They have learned to be gentle and responsible when caring for the pet. When I was gone for a few days on a medical emergency, I did not have to worry at all about the well-being of Ruby. The kids carried on with their responsibilities and the substitute teacher was extremely impressed with their maturity and knowledge!
The kids love to interact with the rats by feeding them, holding them, talking to them, and READING to them!!! My reluctant and troubled readers would sit next to Oingo and Boingo and read out loud to them.
There was also a great difference in the relationships within students. They seemed to grow more accepting of their peer’s differences. I had very little issues with bickering between the kids in the classroom. We learned more, stayed on task, and supported one another. When new students came into the class the others would explain to them what kind of classroom we had. I overheard one student tell a new boy, “We all get along and have fun while we learn, but it only works when everyone does their part to make it happen.”
I don’t think a day goes by that Puff is not involved in some way in our room. It is not always in the written plans but just seems to happen. Students often make connections with something we are doing and relate it to Puff in some way.
I am so surprised to see just how much of an impact [Deedee] has had not only on our class but the other students in the school.
Deedee is a great way to refocus students who are new and scared and don’t want to stay with us (kindergarten class). The child can be clinging and crying to mom and I can walk over and say in a stage whisper “Do you know that we have a DRAGON in our classroom?” 9 times out of 10 the child is so shocked, they forget about being scared and want to see the dragon. She is the best way I have found to get scared kids to come into class.
Cayce, South Carolina
As you can see, the benefits of classroom pets can be great! If you are considering purchasing a classroom pet, please visit our website for some great resources: Things to consider before getting a classroom pet, pet care sheets, our grant application, and more!