Furry friends have always had a place in our hearts and in our homes—but what about our classrooms? With trends of rodents, reptiles, and fish in schools, we wanted to look at how collaborative care for an animal has contributed to students' learning.
Pets in classrooms offer a multifaceted approach to learning and serve as a physical point of reference for students when learning new or more difficult subjects, including math, science, and even geography. Hamsters, for example, can be used to solve mathematic word problems dealing with weight. Biology and animals go hand-in-hand; with pets coming from all around the world, studying the place where their furry peer came from personalizes learning. When discussing environmental issues, classroom pets help students understand the importance of negative effects and enhance empathy. The classroom pet can also be used as a character in writing exercises, helping keep learning constant and clear.
Besides helping with content, pets help students learn responsibility. Classroom chores always come with a classroom—and through taking turns with feeding, cleaning the cage, and petting the animal, students learn about time management and feel empowered caring for another living being that is dependent on their positive actions. These responsibilities are often accompanied by weekend trips home. Students take turns taking care of the pet during the weekend, and this way understand the level of responsibility and care needed to ensure the pet stays safe and well. No other school material or activity gives this level of acknowledgment to students' abilities, which builds self-esteem.
Pets also help socialize students. By having contact with another living being that allows them to pet, play, and interact, students can express themselves and have a source of constant closeness and relationship. This also helps with emotional wellness. Pets are always great to help during distress or when a student feels down. Pet companionship is nonjudgmental and comforting, allowing for healthy management of emotions in the classroom.
Classroom pets, like pets in general, have proven to strengthen children's immune system. With constant exposure in the classroom, these pets help children fight off infections much more effectively (something we can all appreciate).
Overall, classroom pets offer a deeper level of understanding of classroom subjects and help students develop interpersonal skills, which are great to include throughout all levels education, as well as growth and development. A furry class companion will help students become well-rounded, social, and confident. Could we ask for anything better?
Written by our Fluffy Pals at Eastown Veterinary Clinic.