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Pet Care Trust develops a program that successfully reached out to 1 million children in 30,000 classrooms across the United States. The program provides grants of $100-$150 to purchase or adopt a new pet in the classroom with the required supplies or $50 to support the adopted classroom pets. Pet Care Trust was incorporated in Washington DC in 1990 and then established in 2009 – a non-profit, charitable, public foundation.
The Pets in the Classroom program teaches students at an early age long term pet care and responsibility. Studies have examined that human-animal bonding provides psychological and developmental benefits. It’s a positive effect teaching children responsibility, nurturing, affection, and building self-esteem as well as improving school attendance. Waltham center has conducted studies that children with pets have a higher self-esteem and confidence than those without pets. The recipients of the pets in the classroom program confirm that it’s a big impact on its students.
Steve King, Executive Director of the Pet Care Trust says: “The Program has had a powerful impact in elementary school classrooms throughout North American. In just one year the program has awarded grants to nearly 3,000 classrooms, giving up to 90,000 kids the opportunity to interact with a pets every day. “The feedback we are receiving from teachers is overwhelmingly positive,” King says. At a time when school budgets are being slashed nationwide, a pet in the classroom allows the teachers to provide valuable enrichment activities through a classroom pet of their choosing.”
The program teaches science of what the pet eats and world geography of where the animal originates. Math is used to weigh and measure the animals as well as the proper grammar that is being used to describe the pet. Students participate and design presentations about the pets. The learning approach of these subjects motivates excitement and interest. Children that have never been exposed to pets in their environment will make a connection that will develop sensitivity and awareness interacting with animal and humans.
Sixth grade teacher Susan Dougherty-Fitzpatrick is excited about the program, explaining: “This year, our entire fifth grade of over 150 students was allowed to learn about the tree frogs and hermit crabs in our unit ‘Systems and Survival.’ Without your help and support, we would not have been able to under take such a project and cannot thank you enough.”
“My students are learning how to be responsible care takers and best of all, my very shy student and English learners are talking now!” says Mrs. Johnson, a first grade teacher from Kentucky.
Since the program was established in the first year, reptiles, amphibians, birds and the most popular pets such as snakes, lizard, turtles and frogs -comprise of one third of funding. An additional one third has funded small animals as guineas pigs, rabbits and hamsters. The final one third funded freshwater aquariums.
For more information about grants and donations regarding the program go to www.petsintheclassroom.org