Have you met our pets? We have two guinea pigs, Sushi and Kiwi, and a Russian Tortoise named by popular vote: Glitter. Our students love our pets and besides being a fun addition to the school day, class pets can also help with learning and more!
Pets in school can be great for a variety of reasons. They provide students with a sense of belonging, reduce stress, and help to build relationships and practice boundaries. They can also provide an outlet for creative expression.
For example, see the Winter Wonderland and the Pet City our Pre-K class created for below! These students got creative and created a whole map of magical lands for our class tortoise to travel, and a city for all of our pets to explore.
How Can Pets Help Reduce Stress?
Pets help to reduce stress by providing a source of comfort and companionship. It can be very soothing to observe animals go about their day, and since we allow our students to self-lead in the classroom, choosing to observe or play with our class pets is an option for them during the school day. As long as the pets are okay with it, of course.
How Are Pets Used to Build Relationships?
Pets can be used to build relationships with teachers and students, as well as with other animals like pets at home or the pets of friends. They can also be used as a way to teach responsibility, empathy, and compassion.
Our students know that they have to ask before touching any of our class pets, and they pick up on the animals' signals that they are ready to go back into their homes and have some kid-free time. We always make sure that there is a teacher watching when any student is interacting with the pets - for the safety of our kids and animals! And of course we teach the importance of hand washing after handling the animals.
These rules around the pets are like the boundaries we must respect when it comes to playing with our classmates too. Just like the students have to ask before playing with the animals, they also have to ask before they take a toy or book from their classmates or hug, tickle, or touch their friends.
What Are the Benefits of Having Pets in Class?
Pets can help to promote learning by providing an outlet for creativity, as well as by encouraging students to explore their own interests and passions. Classroom pets improve student behavior and performance too, including better school attendance and student engagement, as well as decreased disciplinary measures.
Pets also provide companionship and emotional support for students, and they also provide lots of entertainment and learning experiences! Interacting with animals is a great way to reduce stress and also boosts class morale and mood. Our students love seeing what the pets get up to all day long (honestly, so does our staff!)
Having class pets in school has a multitude of benefits including:
How to Support our Class Pets
Encourage your child to share stories about our class pets, and remind your students to always respect pets’ boundaries. You can practice at home with your own pets too.
Mx. Taryn cares for our class pets but if you’d like to help them get their favorite snacks, Sushi and Kiwi love bananas, kale, and carrots, and Glitter loves to munch on grapes and sweet potatoes!