Providing students the opportunity to interact with an animal in a structured, educational way can be a valuable life lesson and experience. Through the utmost care, animals can be part of the educational setting as classroom pets (though strict guidelines must be adhered to; see below), educational visits and scientific observation.
BC SPCA position on animals in education
The BC SPCA has developed the following position statements for the use of animals for educational purposes.
How to pick the right classroom animal
If you have decided to have a pet in your classroom, we hope that you will read through our list below to learn more about each type of common classroom animal and consider the pros and cons about each.
Small animals that are often kept in classrooms include turtles, fish, guinea pigs, domesticated rats and mice, gerbils, hamsters and rabbits. None of these is without drawbacks, and some should never be kept as classroom pets. We have briefly profiled these animals below with an eye to their suitability in a classroom.
The BC SPCA has a policy on classroom pets. It only condones having a pet in the classroom under strict guidelines, including that the teacher and, when necessary, a second adult caregiver take sole responsibility for the care and welfare of the animal. This includes care over the weekend, holidays and school breaks. Please review each of the policies provided above for more information.
How long do animals live? How big do they get? Where do they come from? Find the answers to these questions and more for each of the following types of animals.