When you were in elementary school, did you have a class pet? Many children have enjoyed the company of furry companions over the years. Here are some benefits of introducing a pet to young students.

If your school has a class pet program, take advantage of it. Even if you don’t have a pet at home, your child can benefit from interactions with one at school.

Benefits of Class Pets

1. Pets teach compassion

Children learn to care for another living creature. They don’t always know how to interact with other creatures and this can teach them to touch softly, feed an animal and become in tune to their feelings. For instance, petting comforts an animal.

2. Pets teach responsibility

You are never too young to learn how to coexist with other living things. Pets are dependent on their owners for feeding and care. Children can learn how to feed a pet on a regular schedule, give them exercise and also clean out their cages.

tortoiseshell cat roaming around the classroom
Image Credit: SeventyFour, Shutterstock

3. Pets teach kids to think

While children learn to read and write in school, they also need to think through situations. If a pet is limping, something is wrong with it that needs attention. Cleaning a cage takes thought. The pet needs to be moved to another location before the tank can be cleaned. Where will you put the pet?

4. Children learn about sanitation

Speaking of cleaning, it needs to be done in a certain way. For instance, kids need to wear gloves so they don’t come in contact with animal droppings. Also, it may require using soap or other cleansers to clean the cage or tank. They learn that cleanliness is important to keep themselves and their class pet healthy.

5. Pets teach sharing

There is only one class pet and several students. Taking turns petting and also caring for them is a must. It requires respect and cooperation. Both are good skills for kids to learn.

student petting a rabbit inside the classroom
Image Credit: XiXinXing, Shutterstock

6. Pets bring valuable knowledge

We know where we live, but where do pets live? A hamster didn’t originate in the classroom, neither did a ferret. Kids absorb knowledge like a sponge and will be more than eager to learn the native habitat of their class pet, their behaviors and their culture.

While class pets provide all of these benefits it is also important to choose the right pet. To broaden the class’s knowledge, a pet that they are not familiar with can bring interest from everyone. This way, all students are on an even playing field.

The class pet program is one that is worthwhile in the right setting.

Featured Image Credit: gpointstudio, Shutterstock