A pet in the classroom has many benefits for students. But, before you get down to learning you have to find the pet that will suit your class’s needs.

Usually each class gets to choose the pet that they want in the classroom. The school may have an approved list of pets or leave the decision up to the teacher.

Here are a few ideas to help you and your class make the right decision.

1. Talk to the class

Ask them what types of pets they might want to see in the classroom. If you are working from an approved list, show the students pictures of the pets and tell a little bit about them. Pets that are skittish won’t do well in a noisy classroom setting.

2. Seek parental involvement

Send a letter home to parents. Notify them of the intention to bring in a class pet. If you have created a list of possible pets, include it in the letter so parents can discuss it with their children.

tortoiseshell cat roaming around the classroom
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3. Know classroom requirements

If you have a small classroom, you won’t be able to keep a pet that is going to grow to a large size. This will need to be a pet that stays small even as they grow and won’t need much space to live and be comfortable.

4. Know kid’s allergies

Some kids may be allergic to certain pet dander. You can ask about medical issues on the form that you send home to parents. In fairness to all kids, a pet that can cause health problems will need to be eliminated from the list of choices.

sheltie dog as classroom pet making children smile
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5. Ask about the funding

If a budget has been set aside for classroom pet programs, find out how much money you are allocated so you know what you can afford. Besides purchasing the pet, you will need food, water and lodging for them for as long as they will be living in the classroom.

6. Decide on holiday care

Weekends may not be a problem, but week long holidays such as spring break or Christmas vacation will necessitate the need for the pet to go home with someone. Kids need permission from parents to participate or the teacher can handle the responsibility their self. Kids who live in apartments may not have the option of pets in the home.

student petting a rabbit inside the classroom
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7. Research your pet choices

Once the list has been narrowed down, further research can help determine which pet gets to live in the classroom.

8. Where will the pet live afterwards?

Once the year is over, who will care for the pet? You can make arrangements with a petting zoo or natural science center to take the pet. Also, if a student and their family find that they are willing and able to welcome the pet into their home that can be another option.

There are many small steps that go into choosing just the right pet for your classroom. Each ensures that your kids get just the experience they deserve.

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