Pets in the Classroom

Do you remember those old television shows that dramatize taking care of pets in the classroom? The scenarios went as far as to take those pets home for a night or two – as the child’s responsibility. Although the program, Pets in the Classroom, does not allow for children to solely supervise at their homes (they must have their parents held accountable if that were the case,) the program offers to help teachers own and maintain pets, as you may have guessed it, in the classroom! They do so by providing money through not-your-average grant: one specifically designed for animal use only.

Children gather around a new pet hamster in the classroom with wide eyes . (photo by edenpictures)

Children gather around a new pet hamster in the classroom with wide eyes . (photo by edenpictures)

Most of the time, children love animals. They love to cuddle, to pet, and to play with them. They also learn from them. At petsintheclassroom.org, they understand that it is natural for students to establish healthy and friendly relationships with the friendly creatures and critters. The information they learn is more of a nurturing one – one that the student may not have been exposed to prior to having a pet in the classroom. They learn to care for, to love, and become responsible peoples through the use of being a “pet owner,” even if for just in a classroom environment.

To process a teacher’s application for owning and maintaining pets in the classroom, the time frame usually is between seven to ten weeks overall. From then on, you will either be denied or awarded one of five grants as described below:

Rebate Grants (one hundred to one hundred and fifty dollars)

  • for small animals or birds or reptiles

Sustaining grant (fifty dollars)

  • to maintain an existing classroom pet

Grants to Pet Stores

  • Petco: Petco coupons for caring for the animal
  • Petsmart: Petsmart coupons for caring for the animal
  • Pet Supermarket: Pet Supermarket coupons for caring for the animal

The website provides great points through their blog. In the article, Caring for Pets Teaches Children about Responsibility, they claim that studies show children are better equipped to fight infection when exposed to pets in the household. As well as fighting sickness, the article also suggests that children are better equipped for sadness, anger, and the like, often running to their pet friends for comfort.

In another article entitled, Benefits of Pets in the Classroom, using pets in subjects from science to social studies allows students to develop real world ideas and concepts at an early age. The tangibility of the pets allow for students to grasp material easier than students who do not have pets in the classroom. Students are also able to see how their actions directly correlate to others, whether it be people or animals.

Some teachers, however, may not believe that their students could handle having animals in the classroom. Some may fear for the welfare of the pet, especially if a class is prone to be rowdy. For example, if a student’s volume level makes the animal scared, the animal must feel safe in some form – it must have a place to hide. Do your students have allergies to the prospective pet? These are all things for the teacher to think about, which understandably may make them feel uneasy. One must have to look at the pros and cons to effectively decide if a pet in the classroom is the right thing for their academic setting.

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