How Classroom Pets Helped During the Pandemic
There’s no doubt, this past school year was a doozy. According to a new survey, though, classroom pets have been a big bright spot for students, even when learning remotely.
The report, compiled by the Pets in the Classroom grant program, found that 97% of respondents said that having a classroom pet was a positive experience. The majority of teachers (79%) reported using classroom pets in their lesson plans on a weekly basis; many (69%) even continued the practice after switching to virtual learning.
The presence of a classroom pet appeared to have a positive impact for students in a variety of ways, including:
• A decrease in anxiety among students (95% of respondents).
• An improvement in attendance (79%).
• An increase in empathy and compassion (98%).
• An improvement in academic performance (76%).
• A rise in student responsibility (98%).
• Better social skills (96%) and self-esteem (93%) among students.
• An increase in student engagement (98%).
• Fewer instances requiring student disciplinary measures (88%).
In addition to the numerical data, the survey also collected teachers’ inspiring comments about the ways their classroom pet helped students, especially during the tough transition to virtually learning during the coronavirus pandemic.
“To say that having class pets is beneficial would be an understatement. It is therapeutic for both staff and students. I am amazed at how my students responded in such a positive way to our pets. It opened the floor for honest conversations about managing emotions, stress, and how our actions and reactions affect others,” explained one respondent who utilized the Pets in the Classroom grant program.