It is a tragic reality that many (most?) children sitting in the classrooms today have not had an opportunity to enjoy and look after a household pet. This is sad because owning a pet brings many benefits to a child – from enjoying the companionship of another living creature (many kids these days don’t have siblings either) to fostering organisation and responsibility.
Some schools have stepped into the breach by replacing the home pet with a classroom pet – most schools opt for a low maintenance species, such as guinea pigs or fish. However this raises a number of questions: Who feeds the pet, cleans the cage, takes it to the Vet? Today’s teachers are busy enough as it is to take on another ‘dependent’ in the classroom.
One solution may be to have dedicated budget and staff time for looking after the pet but most schools are already strapped for money and time. I feel strongly that given the wealth of benefits pets impart to people and especially children, the need for a pet in the classroom should be viewed the same way as a need for textbooks. And pets are more fun, too.