Here at Meet A Creature we know how enriching an experience meeting animals can be for children. Small creatures can bring an element of fun and variety that may be absent from everyday classroom life, and can be used to engage pupils in a wide variety of lessons, from descriptive writing to scientific observation. This can come in the form of a one-off workshop or a more permanent fixture in the classroom.
So, what are the benefits that a small creature or two can bring to a classroom environment?
Teaching the lifecycle of a frog is a common KS1 lesson that is taught up and down the country. However, telling your students the life cycle of a frog and showing them will have two very different results. They may forget the words, but they will certainly remember watching a tadpole grow and develop into a full-grown frog. Hands-on learning or first-hand observation will always be the most memorable.
With a little imagination, you can bring classroom pets into many parts of the curriculum. You can also use them as a way to help children to learn in other areas. For geography, look up different types of frogs (and tadpoles) from the area you are studying. Or for literacy, write about your day as if you were a tadpole.
It could even become a school-wide learning incentive, with other classes coming to meet and learn from your classroom pets.
A small, animal such as a hamster can also have benefits for your students in the classroom, helping them learn how to take care of, and have a level of responsibility for another living creature. Taking turns to water and feed the pet can help to build responsibility and sensitivity to the needs of animals.
Working together to care for and learn about a small animal can foster new friendships and interests and encourage team working. Opportunities to look after the pet are particularly helpful for pupils who are shy or find it difficult to make friends by building confidence and self-esteem.
For many people, a pet can be a great friend and companion – this is no different for children and they can even learn vital social skills from such a relationship. The nurturing, caring and loving bonds that can develop between pet and child are interactions that are invaluable. Developing this outside of the home – where these things develop more naturally – can even help your pupils perform better in the classroom.
Do you want to learn more about how animals can enhance your pupil’s learning experience in the classroom? Feel free to contact us by giving us a call on 07432 560371 and we’ll happily help you set up an animal party or workshop to enrich your classroom!