National Pet Month
National Pet Month celebrates and raises awareness of responsible pet ownership through educational campaigns and resources. NPM celebrates pet ownership, sharing the many benefits of our cherished companions across the UK.
Teaching children how to look after pets from a young age is very important. It can teach them about responsibility and patience as well as many other valuable life lessons.
Pets can come in all shapes and sizes and are much more varied than just dogs or cats. In fact, in the UK it is becoming more and more popular to keep domestic fowl, such as chickens, as a pet. Snakes and lizards are also becoming more of a popular choice as a pet.
- Favourite Toys or Games
This simple question is a great way to break into the topic for the day- it could be a way to teach about different types of charts in a maths lesson, as each child goes round and collect data on what toys everyone else’s pets like.
- Which Pet is Most Popular?
Again, this could be used in a data collection lesson. It could also be used as a critical thinking lesson- Why is this pet so popular? Why might some people prefer them over this pet?
- Pet Hygiene
Teaching about hygiene both for pets as well as for their owners is very important. Talk about key aspects to do with hygiene regarding pets. Why should you wash your hands after you’ve played with your pet? Why do some pets need cleaning when others might not? Why do some pets lick themselves clean?
- Spending Time With Pets
Teaching children of all ages about how important it is to spend quality time together. This lesson doesn’t have to just be regarding pets, but also friends and family. Talk to them about how it is not just a benefit for the other person, but also for yourself. Even talking to a pet can be a great way to relieve stress and free up your mind. It can also teach mindfulness in young children.
How Pets Can Benefit The Classroom
All parents and teachers know the enthusiasm and engagement that animals can produce in children. Many school communities are enriched by this knowledge, introducing pets into schools in a number of imaginative and practical ways. Pet clubs, pet assemblies or pet days can help to nurture an understanding of life and the responsibilities of animal welfare in the individual child and the school as a whole.
Animals fascinate children. Recent studies have shown that this interest can facilitate learning, have a positive effect on child development and be harnessed to improve human and animal welfare.
School pets have been found to:
- encourage respect and reverence for life in pupils and thereby improve their relationships with other pupils, parents and teachers
- foster a sense of responsibility in children
- teach children to nurture and respect life
- lead to the development of hobbies or careers in animal care
Teachers have also found therapeutic benefits for children with SEN:
- a calming effect on pupils, particularly those with behavioural or learning difficulties; improving behaviour and concentration, reducing stress and improving self-esteem
- encouraging expression and participation
- animals can help when working with the most vulnerable children
Pets in schools also have social benefits for the school community:
- enhance the learning environment, creating a sense of security and family warmth for the pupils
- encourage the involvement of parents and the wider community in a school activity
- help to promote the school as an important nurturing influence in the community
- reduce the incidence of truancy, vandalism and conflict through fostering a greater sense of community
The RSPCA is one of the biggest animal charities in the UK and has a whole plethora of resources to do with keeping your pet fit and healthy. I found a KS1/2 Lesson plan which they created, teaching how to look after pets. Click here to have a look at it.
Vets4Pets also have a website full of information on how to look after certain pets.
We here at Teacher’s Pet already have a plethora of amazing resources all related to Pets. Click here to see all of our Pet Resources.
Below I have picked out a handful of resources in order to get started.
We hope these ideas have given you some inspiration for teaching about National Pet Month.
If you have any great teaching ideas for this topic, feel free to comment below (they might even get added into the topic calendar!)