Friday, July 15, 2011

Pets for the Classroom!

Guinea Pigs, rats, rabbits, birds, turtles, lizards, fish.  These are just a few of the little creatures that have become quintessential to many a teachers’ classroom. Yes, having a pet in the classroom is a responsibility and does require some extra work.  However, despite having to clean cages, regulate diets, and plan for weekend and vacation care, the rewards teachers and students receive from having a classroom pet can be simply amazing. 

Ok.  Let’s address one objection right off the bat.  Money.  Many school teachers have very limited resources for the support of classroom animals and don’t want to pay for it out of their own pocket. That’s why The Pet Care Trust is sponsoring the Pets in the Classroom program.  The program, available to Pre-Kindergarten through Sixth grade classes in both public and private schools, helps teachers support pets in the classroom through direct, no-hassle grants up to $150 in value. You can obtain a grant or coupon for the purchase of new pets, pet environments and pet food as well as for supplies for existing classroom pets.

So now that you could have the funding to have a furry (or furless!) friend in your classroom, let’s address why classroom pets are worth the extra effort.  Research has shown that caring for pets develops children’s sense of responsibility, respect for living beings, and valuable social skills.  Children can develop an increased awareness of the needs and feelings of others by interacting with a classroom pet and sharing responsibilities with other students.  Teachers also report that classroom pets can create a new sense of enthusiasm in children, as children pitch in and help care for the pet as part of a team.  

A classroom pet also allows for creative additions to standard curriculums across multiple disciplines.  Whether it’s Math (“how much does a hamster weigh?”) or Science, (“what does a snake eat?”) Geography (“what part of the world do ferrets come from?”) or Grammar (“what words would we use to describe a goldfish?”) students will approach learning all these subjects with a new enthusiasm and interest.

Now doesn’t that sound worthwhile?  Your students may not suddenly have perfect manners, listen attentively, and get straight A’s, but the lessons you will be teaching them will be immeasurable. For more information on the benefits of classroom pets and to apply for a Pets in the Classroom grant, please visit  Also, check out this great video for a more in-depth look at the Pets in the Classroom program and the benefits that stem from classroom pets!



  1. Erin,
    Sadly I had to find a new home for my pet this year. It seems that a student was allergic. I saw our "Princess" transform some of the kids. For many, she was a true friend. The kids enjoyed taking her home on weekends and yes, we even wrote about her adventures. Who knew there was such a grant available for the purchasing of pets and supplies. Really nice to know.
    Perhaps, I'll think about getting another little friend for our classroom.
    Great Post - thanks for sharing!

  2. Love this! I have always had a pet of some sort in my classroom. I blogged about it a week or 2 ago, would love if you checked it out. It's called "Meet Truffles". Thanks for this info...I'll be checking it out:))

    4th Grade Frolics

  3. Several teachers at my school applied for this grant and were able to have pets in their classrooms. Thank you for reposting this as I did not know that you could get the grant throughout the year.

  4. I just signed up for it this summer and received my coupons a few days ago for a leopard gecko. I cannot wait to go out and get one ;) Thanks for posting this. It's an amazing program that a lot of teachers don't know about!

    Reaching for the TOP!

  5. Thanks for your feedback. It is a great program. :)

    I am thinking of a pet for next year!