It’s not uncommon to walk into an elementary school classroom and discover wildlife. No, not the students run amok! We’re talking about the fish in the tank, or the guinea pig in the cage. Classroom pets can be a great way to teach students responsibility, pride, and friendship.
Taking care of an animal means feeding the animal, keeping their home clean, giving it attention, and being mindful not to upset its environment with loud noises. A class pet provides the opportunity for teachers to delegate jobs to students to make sure the pet is taken care of. This teaches the students to understand what it takes to put another’s needs ahead of their own.
A class pet gives the group a unique and specific mascot. The pet belongs to everyone in the class and therefore is representative of each student. As everyone pitches in to care for the pet, they begin to develop a sense of pride in their work and ownership.
A pet is a companion. Giving students the experience of pet ownership in a shared and controlled environment allows them to make a connection to the pet and each other. The pet becomes a center of socialization, as talking with each other is needed to best take on the responsibilities of caring for the pet as a team. Students can also experience the joy of having an animal friend with them in the classroom as a source of fun and comfort.
Classroom pets offer many advantages in a learning environment. Children not only learn about the responsibilities of caring for a living creature, but they gain a new friend.