Back-to-School Special: Pets in the Classroom!

Research suggests that classroom pets can improve academic performance and social skills in children (See McCullough et al., 2019). The Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS) has funded research by Dr. Marguerite E. O’Haire, Purdue University, to study guinea pigs in classroom settings.

‘SCAS provided instrumental funding to enable our initial research on guinea pigs in school classrooms. With their support, we were able to identify that the presence of guinea pigs in the classroom led to improvements in social functioning for both children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their typically developing peers. These findings led to an ongoing stream of research on animals in school classrooms and for children with autism. I am grateful for their support of my own work and of the broader field’.

Dr. Marguerite E. O’Haire

Tell a teacher! Do know, or are you a teacher who wants to help children experience the joy and learning opportunities of interacting with and caring for animals? Especially those children who do not have the opportunity to interact with pets at home!

Pets in the Classroom is an educational grant program that provides financial support to teachers in the US or Canada to purchase and maintain small animals in the classroom. The program was established by the Pet Care Trust to provide children with an opportunity to interact with pets—an experience that can help to shape their lives for years to come.

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