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Classroom Critters: The Benefits of a Class Pet

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

With school just around the corner, there are many different elements to every classroom that are set up to best enhance the learning of the children who will occupy the room for the next nine months.

Most classrooms have bookcases full of brightly colored books, comfortable reading rugs, and vibrant educational posters. Another essential aspect of the learning environment is the life within the room. The children add life, the teacher brings the knowledge, and the aide keeps everything moving smoothly. Another essential life to a classroom is the class pet.

Some teachers go out of their way to have a small zoo in their room. I have seen natural, local aquariums, frogs, and guinea pigs all in one room! Although this creates an amazing learning environment to inspire young learners, it can be very difficult for a teacher to maintain, if her district even allows.

Instead, a dwarf hamster or gerbil makes the perfect, easy pet for a classroom. They are clean, small pets who are easy to care for and handle changes in temperature without it affecting their health.

Classroom pets help children learn about maintaining a healthy environment and being responsible for another life. They also have a tendency of helping shy, introverted children to come out of their shells.

If your child's teacher doesn't have a class pet yet, set up a meeting with them to see if they are able and willing to take on the responsibility. A class collection can be taken to invest in a small cage, food, toys, bedding, and the pet.

Ultimately though, you are going to need a teacher who is open to the idea. The teacher is going to be responsible for taking care of the pet on holidays and breaks. It may be a very cute idea to have students take turns taking the pet home on weekends or breaks, it isn't the most desirable. The borrowed pet just adds stress to the families, with worries of the pet escaping it's cage, or deteriorating in health.

Long Island Pets Articles > Classroom Critters: The Benefits of a Class Pet

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