Research has shown that pet ownership can be particularly beneficial for children: from teaching them responsibilities and about the cycle of life, to providing companionship and building confidence.
School pets have been found to:
- motivate pupils to think and to learn, as children have a high level of natural interest, enthusiasm and enjoyment of animals
- encourage a respect and reverence for life in pupils and thereby improve their relationships with other pupils, parents and teachers
- foster a sense of responsibility in children
- teach children to nurture and respect life
- helps our children to read. Two of our Guinea Pigs have learnt phonics and can speak fluent English to the pupils.
- lead to the development of hobbies / careers in animal care
- improve academic achievement
Teachers have also found therapeutic benefits for children with special needs. For example:
- a calming effect on pupils, particularly those with behavioural or learning difficulties; improving behaviour and concentration, reducing stress and improving self-esteem
- encouraging expression and participation in more withdrawn children
- animals can help when working with the most vulnerable children
- educational improvements with low achievers
Pets in schools also have social benefits for the school community:
- enhance the learning environment, creating a sense of security and family warmth for the pupils
- encourage the involvement of parents and the wider community in school activity
- help to promote the school as an important nurturing influence in the community
- reduce the incidence of truancy, vandalism and conflict through fostering a greater sense of community
Across the school we have children acting as pet supervisors and monitors on a rota. All our supervisors are fully trained to handle and care for our pets. Each week they have two pet monitors who help them with the chores of feeding, cleaning out and looking after the guinea pigs and rabbits.