Yes, they are more work. Yes, you have to take care of them over the holidays and breaks.
However, the right classroom pet can have a positive impact on students. I've had fish and guinea pigs before. Neither was my favorite. Now our class has a Leopard Gecko named Ada (named after Ada Lovelace) and she's a rock star.
She's cute. She eats bugs. She's low maintenance. Kids want to hold her. The video below shows her in action.
Here are some of the benefits of having a classroom pet.
- Educational benefits: Pets in the classroom can be used as a tool for teaching children about responsibility, empathy, and the importance of caring for living things. Classroom pets often bring out the best in students who sometimes struggle to show compassion to others.
- Social and emotional development: Pets can help children develop social skills and emotional intelligence by providing an opportunity for them to interact and bond with other living creatures. Sometimes, a lizard can be a good friend when there are no other friends to be found.
- Stress relief: Pets can help reduce stress and anxiety in children, making them more comfortable and relaxed in the classroom environment.
- Increased motivation: Children may be more motivated to learn and participate in classroom activities when pets are present.
- Enhanced learning experiences: Pets can be incorporated into various curriculum areas such as science, reading, and art, providing unique and interactive learning experiences for children. You'll have a living writing prompt which increases engagement.
Here is a list of the 5 Best Classroom Pets to Consider [source]
- Bearded Dragon (I am partial to Leopard Geckos)
- Guinea Pigs (fun but not my favorite)
- Rabbits (if you get the right one)
Best of luck to you on your classroom pet journey.