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Getting a class pet is a great way to help your children. They will love coming to school and engaging with different topics. Although some teachers worry that they can be distracting, class pets can bring a lot to your learning environment.
Depending on the animal you choose, you can create a whole range of activities to engage and inspire young ones. Not everyone has pets at home. Learning to care, clean, and play with an animal are great skills for everyone!
Here are our Top 5 class pet choices to help you create the very best classroom pet experience for your students. Some of these choices might seem a little strange. But strange is great when it comes to getting kids engaged!
Class pets can encourage a whole range of positive behaviours from students. They learn responsibility, empathy, and teamwork from their classroom duties. Not everyone has the best opportunities to improve these skills. This is an easy way to encourage them within your class.
New pets are exciting for small children. This means that encouraging positive behaviour can be a little difficult when your new pet arrives. If you’re worried about class pets being more of a distraction than they are worth, here are some reasons to get one.
Not everyone has a pet at home. By getting a class pet, you make sure that everyone understands how to take care of an animal and the necessary skills for pet ownership.
If you get an exotic class pet, you will be teaching all your kids something useful. How many own a tarantula or a snake? Giving them varied experiences opens their eyes to the world around them.
As well as general care, you can use your class pet to teach:
Hands-on education with real-world examples will stick in your children’s minds longer. You can even relate it to History or English - were ants kept as pets by anyone famous? How does our class hamster feel today? What adventures do our mice go on?
Including a class pet in a curriculum is an easy way to engage and excite your students.
Taking care of something is a big responsibility, especially for young children. They can learn positive behaviours for caring for small animals. This includes remembering to feed them, cleaning their cage or tank, and playing with them.
Being responsible for something other than themselves can be hard for young ones. If they don’t have a pet at home, this can be a difficult skill to master. Give your kids a chance to learn these necessary skills from the safety of your classroom.
Your children won’t be working alone. This class pet belongs to you and all the children in your class. Learning to share roles and duties means that children will become responsible individuals within your learning environment.
You can change who is “head pet carer” each day or week. This gives responsibility to a new child whenever you feel appropriate. This can be an excellent motivator for children who are struggling with their classwork or at home. It gives them a chance to be needed.
Not all class pets need to be living things. Your Teacher’s Pet Creature is perfect for younger children. They help teachers monitor behaviour, can be great fun at playtime as a reward, and they need very little care.
Your Teacher’s Pet Creature was designed with encouraging positive behaviour. When your students understand what positive behaviour is, they know that the Creature expects them to show positive behaviours at all times.
Using Your Teacher’s Pet Creature as a pet is a great opportunity to monitor behaviour. Your Pet is there to keep an eye out for good behaviour even when you can’t.
Unlike some animals, Your Teacher’s Pet Creature never turns down a chance to play. You can easily use it as a reward for positive behaviour whenever you need it. Letting children play with the Pet allows them to enjoy taking care of it, much like they would their own pets.
This reward can be extended too. Children can take Your Teacher’s Pet Creature home over the weekend or holidays. This can be excellent for writing tasks like diaries or letters - very few animals are capable of writing accounts of what they did over the weekend, but you can turn this into a task all about you’re your Teacher’s Pet Creature!
As part of a Science lesson, you can explore all the things that animals need. Then you can ask students to “play out” these needs with Your Teacher’s Pet Creature. This makes it an ideal “take-home” pet. Parents don’t need to buy anything special and it only needs the imagination of a child for care!
A lot of people are scared of spiders. Really scared of spiders. Some spiders can be very dangerous. It’s not a bad idea to be cautious around them. Learning to look after a tarantula can help people overcome fear and learn to control their emotions.
Tarantula’s need very little care to survive. If you have the correct tank settings and nutritious food for them, they will happily go about their day. This means that your kids can start to grow into being responsible individuals with a low maintenance pet.
If you’re worried about safety, tarantulas generally aren’t venomous enough to harm humans. They have a nasty bite, but so do hamsters and rabbits. Safe handling and proper care make tarantulas excellent pets.
Instead of being afraid of spiders, you create a friend for them who isn’t quite as scary. Helping children overcome fears is important in education. Teach them all to overcome a fear of spiders and actually befriend one. This can be a life lesson that stays with them forever.
Whereas dogs, cats, and hamsters are common household pets, tarantulas are pretty rare. This might be because people are afraid of them. Give your students a chance to see an uncommon animal.
Snakes are really interesting animals. Some people are afraid of them, but they are unique in the animal kingdom. Learning how to look after them is a challenge for children who already have pets as well.
Snakes aren’t like other common household pets. They are cold-blooded and they eat their food whole. This will be a big change for your students. Feeding whole mice to the newest member of your class could be a very new experience for some!
Use this opportunity to teach that different animals need different conditions. You can build this into a lesson about the food chain. Maybe even where our own food comes from. It might be a little gory, so this might be best for older children!
Just like tarantulas, a lot of people are afraid of snakes. Showing your children safe snakes and letting them deal with fears can help them in the long run. Important lessons about learning which animals are safe and which aren’t can also come from this scaly classroom pet.
Snakes live a long time. Larger snakes can live up to 30 years. You can rely on your snake classroom pet to be your companion wherever you are teaching. This is excellent for students who can grow up with the classroom pet at the school, even if they aren’t in your class anymore.
Many people don’t know what chinchillas are. Think of them like big, fluffy hamsters which are generally friendly. Coming from the Andes Mountains, these are excellent exotic pets.
Chinchillas can be skittish if they are handled by people they don’t trust. Because of this, chinchillas might be best for older children.
You can use this as an opportunity for students to understand that your class pet isn’t a toy. It is an animal that has thoughts and needs. It can be hard for students to understand why animals don’t want to play with them. Earning an animal’s trust can have excellent long term benefits.
Chinchillas can be very vocal. Their barks, chirps, and other vocalisations can tell you a lot about how they feel. This is excellent for teaching students that animals have feelings. This might seem obvious to some kids, but it can be a difficult lesson for others!
If you want a very fussy and neat animal, chinchillas might be for you. It can be easy to forget to clean out a hamster cage as they like to keep to themselves. If you don’t clean a chinchilla's cage, it will start throwing the mess out! Visual signs like this can be very helpful for teaching the importance of responsibility.
If you lived through the 80s, you might remember a craze of pet rocks. Looking back on it, a pet rock can be a little strange. But it’s actually fantastic for imagination, creativity, and learning the necessary caring skills.
If you’re worried about the safety of having a rock in your classroom, you can use a doll or any other non-living thing. The most important thing is to give your students a chance for creativity with a seemingly mundane object.
Kids love make-believe. If you have children between the ages of 3 and 7, this can be an excellent chance for them to role-play having a pet. According to famous child psychologist Jean Piaget, children begin to imagine between these ages.
Their pet rock isn’t necessarily just a rock. It can be whatever they want it to be. Let their imagination tell you what rocky is today - a hamster, a horse, or even a dragon. In a way, a pet rock isn’t just one pet - it’s a million pets rolled up in one!
Because pet rocks won’t resist playtime, children can decorate them and change them however they like. This can include arts and crafts or a tiny dressing up set. You can even include your pet rock in Art lessons!
A pet rock only works if everyone buys into it. Everyone needs to agree and believe that the rock needs care. Your children should understand that it needs just as much care as a dog or a parrot.
You can have high expectations of their behaviour and responsibility without worrying about the animal. They can learn what is appropriate or inappropriate behaviour and no animals can possibly get hurt.
Getting a classroom pet is an excellent way to encourage responsibility and caring behaviours in your class. Children who don’t have pets learn to take care of animals and to act appropriately around them.
Even with “scary animals”, you can use the pet as a chance to grow. We don’t need to be afraid when we know what to do. Teaching positive behaviours and overcoming fears is an important life lesson for young children.
Your Teacher’s Pet Creature is an excellent starter class pet. Teach your children responsible behaviour with a pet that will never be grumpy at play time. Let your students explore the world of pet ownership without worrying about the animal itself!
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