Classroom Pets Prove Positive for Students in New Research

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If you’ve had a classroom pet, whether it be a butterfly, guinea pig, fish, rabbit, or lizard, then you know how exciting it is to have the responsibility of caring for a pet in school. Maybe you’ve even had the chance to take the little fellow home for the weekend. In fact, classroom pets have a positive reputation in schools, as they often help students learn and support teaching efforts. The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in collaboration with Mars Petcare and National Institutes of Health recently published their newest research in the American Educational Research Association Open (AERA Open) journal, which included their findings about the potential animals have in reducing stress and anxiety, promoting social interaction, and an increase in motivation and learning.

Related: Pets In The Classroom Program Brings Money (and Pets) To Children

The global research investigates the many benefits of introducing animals into the classroom. In essence, this broad analysis will provide future researchers with a foundation to understanding the impact that animals can have on children’s learning. Classroom pets help make it easier for children to make friends with other classmates, help resolve conflict, and act as a source of motivation and engagement.

Related: Kids Who Have a Ruff Time Reading Find Attentive Listeners in Dogs

Nancy Gee, lead author of the study ‘Human–Animal Interaction Research in School Settings: Current Knowledge and Future Directions’ and Waltham Research Manager says that there is not a lot of data to support the benefits of human-animal interaction. She adds that her paper accumulates research from around the world and carefully organizes it a way that will help others understand the impact that animals have on kids in a classroom setting.

The studies found that the presence of a dog in a classroom can help children improve their attitude toward school and will help them learn responsibility, respect, and empathy. In addition, the research also showed that a dog in the classroom helps children pay more attention to the teacher.