Class Pet Ideas: What Teachers Need to Consider

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

So, you students want a pet for your classroom this year. You aren’t sure if you’re ready to take on even one more thing beyond providing a stellar education. But what if you could do both? What if a classroom pet can provide a learning experience and can help teach them the importance of responsibility? Win-win!

Im a Pretty Bird
I’m a Pretty Bird

The Importance of a Classroom Pet

I have had the good fortune to work with classrooms that made the choice to bring a puppy into the classroom. The classroom received greater engagement from students in learning about responsibility in pet ownership. The dogs also provided a safe place for students who were grieving over the death of a parent. My own experience with bringing a pet into the classroom came several years ago. I taught elementary school students in a high-poverty school. There were 18 students with home situations that were truly “hardcore.” My goal was to provide students with opportunities to learn about kindness and caring. I wanted them to learn the importance of empathy and sharing.

The Benefits of Bringing a Classroom Pet into Your Classroom

Not only can students learn the importance of taking care of a pet but they also develop a stronger bond with the pet, as well. This helps both parties work on important life skills, as well as gain confidence in handling the pet. If you have a bunch of kittens, for example, and they just don’t get along, having a kitten in your class can help both students and the kitten learn how to get along. Teaching responsibility, responsibility, and responsibility! (More on the Kitten Hoarder Class Pet.) But before you take the plunge and enroll your students, teachers need to think about the following topics. Will You Provide Good Support? Well, your school can’t support the same.

on theirs.

KFP hamster

Why a Classroom Pet is the Best Educational Tool

A classroom pet makes learning an adventure. There is something to discover every day and bring out the kid in each of us. Imagine walking your student through the neighborhoods around your school and seeing what they find. What they learn about the places you can go with your class and what they learn about the places you can’t. How fun! A classroom pet could help them learn about different habitats in a more grounded way. Dogs like huskies have hunting and hunting instincts, so they are naturally interested in the nature around them. We could even have scavenger hunts! The goal is still academic, but the lesson is a lot more hands-on. The bottom line is, a classroom pet can provide a lot of learning for your students if used right.

How to Choose the Right Animal for Your Project

So, which animal will be a suitable subject for your classroom pet project? That’s the question for many. For starters, it’s important to remember that the picture of your pet’s breed or individual features can be a good starting point. Your teacher will know best how to care for your pet in a classroom setting, so the right pet for your classroom project should be easily transportable and easy to maintain. But on the flip side, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, you don’t have to choose a wild or exotic animal. You can opt for something a little more domesticated to teach your students what responsibility and care of an animal means. Many animals meet the requirements for a “good fit” for a classroom pet project, but a few you can even skip, like birds or insects.

What to Consider Before You Bring a Living Creature Into Your School

Don’t Do This: Don’t Give the students the impression that the class pets are their responsibility to feed and walk. Teach them to provide a safe and clean space for their pet to sleep. Think about: How much space the classroom will take up and what type of cost it will be. Where the pet will sleep and will the room be designated a “pet zone”? How much space will there be for the class pet to run around? Will your pet be allowed in the teacher’s room at any time and will there be privacy provided? Who will be responsible for cleaning the pet (including its feeding and bathroom responsibilities)? Who will take the pet to the vet? Who will take the pet to class when its owner isn’t there? How will you make sure the pet doesn’t scare other students?

pet dogs

Do I Have Enough Room?

Before you go adding a new pet to your class, first determine if it’s even possible. Is it too large for a small area or is it too small? Will it be distracting? Are you allowed pets on campus? Will your schedule support it? One teacher recently told me that she worked in a school where he class pet included a mountain lion. Another told me that she never got to introduce her class to her pet because the mountain lion would chase the students. There’s no doubt some will be right for your classrooms, but some might be a no-go. Are Animals Good for Kids’ Health? Young children do not have the greatest health. If you have young kids, you know this. So you must be aware that they may come home with dog drool and animal fur on them.

Do I Know What Animals My Students Can Handle?

These questions should be addressed to your principal. The only way to ensure that students are capable of keeping a pet alive is to talk to your principal about how to best ensure the health of the animals you bring into the classroom. There are numerous sites with advice on what animals are a good idea for children. But as with anything, first, make sure you are not taking on more than you can handle. That being said, these guidelines are a great jumping-off point: Birds: It is best to start with birds rather than other exotic animals like pigs. Their feathers are easy to maintain, they are relatively inexpensive, and the only maintenance needed is keeping their beaks clean.

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