Are you a pet-owner? About 65% of American households have some sort of pet, so most likely, you are. You may have dogs or cats or you might be like me and have a few “exotic” pets. Here is a list of what I’ve got…so far:
-2 inside cats (who love boxes)
-3 barn cats (at least that I’ve seen and regularly feed)
-1 dog with 2 puppies (who like to nap)
-15 goats (who like to play “Follow the Leader”)
-1 bearded dragon (who hates Mondays)
-7 hissing cockroaches (this has recently been reduced to 6…sad day)
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been an animal lover. I absolutely LOVED my time working at the zoo and that’s probably one reason I insist on having animals in my office now.
That being said, I contribute some of my daily happiness to my animals. So, doesn’t owning a pet make us better people? While researching some things for this blog, I found that it is not actually a scientific fact. Interestingly enough, we always hear about the benefits of having pets in our lives. They make us happier, healthier, etc. Unfortunately, there is insufficient evidence to support this. Bummer.
Now, although I agree with the science and research behind all of this, I also know my own life. My home feels like it’s missing something without an animal nearby. So, even if it isn’t proven that animals make us happier and healthier people, I believe that they do enrich our lives in amazing ways.
Have you ever had a class pet? If not, I think it’s something to look into. It may seem a bit daunting to have a living creature in your classroom that requires love and care, but don’t worry. Why not start out with a fish? Watching fish swim can be quite therapeutic for an upset child. Having children help with feeding and cleaning can help teach children responsibility.
What about when your classroom animal dies? Isn’t that traumatic? Honestly, I feel that learning about the circle of life is important for children to experience. We all endure death at some point in our life. It’s just part of it. Plan ahead for this instance and think about what you might say to the children in your classroom, center or home. Allow them time to express their feelings and ask questions.
Check out this book about using animals with children. There are some good points to think about and a whole chapter about having animals in the classroom.
I also found this video from a school in Georgia that uses animals in the classroom. Although it addresses using animals with older children, I think the concepts still apply to early childhood.
What do you think about that? What kinds of things do you think your children could learn from animals? Do you have animals in your classroom, center or home? Post any comments you have!
And as always…THINK OUTSIDE!