PETS ARE GOOD FOR CHILDREN AT KIDS COLLEGE CHILDCARE
Kids College has an interesting array of pets. Each was chosen having taking into account the benefits and risks to the pets and our children. Our menagerie of pets has been a rich source of learning for our children and offer ideal opportunities to practice empathy and care giving. We have such a strong social emotional program fostering children’s emotional intelligence and our pets offer our children the chance to practice these skills safely. We also use our pets to teach children about sustainability and that each of us are part of the global citizens.
Kids College is home to crazy crabs, worms in our worm farm, gold fish, and our bearded dragon, Raa. We also have a number of fluffy toy animals which give children valuable lessons in looking after family pets and being how to be gentle.
We also welcome visiting pets. The hatching chicken eggs are always a favourite. Our children very much enjoy particularly fathers day at Kids College where we get cuddly animal farm to visit us. It is really wonderful to see the calming nature of these patient animal farm fluffies with our children and the daddies who visit us. If you have any children friendly pets at home let us know and we can see if it is appropriate to welcome them for a hello at Kids College. We also encourage you to send in photos of your pets for our children to enjoy.
Animals as the third teacher
Kids College provides our children with access to animals to help them learn about the life cycle and relationships, and improve communication. Contemporary thinkers, such as Bone (2013), put forward the notion of ‘animals as the fourth teacher’ building on the work of Malaguzzi in the town of Reggio Emilia. Malaguzzi’s ideology positions the parent as the child’s first teacher, the educator as the second and the environment as the third teacher, emphasising the crucial role they all play in supporting children’s learning. http://files.acecqa.gov.au/files/QualityInformationSheets/QualityArea3/KeepingPetsAndAnimalsInEducationAndCareServices.pdf
The benefits of having pets
Respect: Children learn that animals deserve to be treated with care and respect. Animals have limits just like people do and although they may enjoy interaction, sometimes they want space. Understanding an animal’s boundaries and body language are important and that learned respect translates to respecting other people.
Empathy: Having a pet gives children the opportunity to become a caregiver. Children learn to respond to their pet’s needs and may witness their pet’s fear and anxiety in an unfamiliar place or around loud noises. Recognizing a pet’s needs and comforting them helps children learn how to feel the way others feel, becoming more empathetic.Owning a fish tank is a stress reducer. Watching the fish swim peacefully through the water and the bubbles floating to the surface can really relax you. If you have a child that’s rather emotional, this might be a nice place to sit them if they are feeling a little overwhelmed or overtired.
Responsibility: A child should never be solely responsible for a pet, as the responsibility of an animal’s wellbeing ultimately falls on the parents or other responsible adult, but by participating in the care of an animal a child learns good habits. They learn accountability and that they are depended upon by a living thing. This also helps children develop a conscience.
Self-esteem: Pets are non-judgmental. Children know that no matter how bad of a day they are having, a pet is always there to “listen” and be a source of affection.
Overcoming Fears: Children who grow up with pets are generally less fearful of animals. They become familiar with animals and animal behaviour, which makes them less anxious about the unknown. Additionally, children are less likely to believe myths about animals with less favourable reputations if they have spent time around them.
Circle of Life: As a pet’s health declines due to illness or old age, children learn that life is not infinite, but love and memories are. When a beloved pet passes away, a child learns that they can live through the grieving process and appreciate the life of their special family member.
Appreciation of Nature: Through pets, children gain insight into wild and domestic animals. By observing their behaviour, children learn about animal instincts and intelligence. There is so much to discover about wildlife, that children exposed to nature develop a sense of wonderment and appreciation for life on Earth.
Honouring a biological connection
Most folks who work with children know that children are drawn to animals of all kinds. There is definitely something special about children’s interest in animals. Research shows that humans’ innate interest in animals is biological: we are drawn to species that are “other” than human and in many cases have an instinct to want to care for or nurture creatures that are small and vulnerable.
In 1984 E.O. Wilson, a biologist, introduced the idea of “biophilia”-that innate affinity we humans have for other living things. In recent years, many early educators have recognized this affinity in young children and have embraced a philosophy that includes lots of living natural materials in the classroom (such as plants and flowers), nature-based play areas with landscape features that include lots of vegetation, and providing plenty of outdoor time for children.
A “biocentric” approach to early care and education means more than just providing opportunities for nature play however. It can—and should—include opportunities for children to connect with living animals. Unlike adults who tend to value animals for what they can provide (food, leather, wool), or how they can serve us (as companions), children tend to value animals simply because they are. They recognize the intrinsic value of animals—that simply because they are living creatures, they are important. http://naturalstart.org/feature-stories/nurturing-childrens-love-animals
KIDS COLLEGE FAMILY
At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input. Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on Jennifer@kidscollege.com.au
Quote from Kids College Philosophy
‘We also embed sustainability and recycling at Kids College to support our place in our modern global climate of environmental responsibility.’
3.2.3. The service cares for the environment and supports children to become environmentally responsible.
Proud to display our Exceeding Childcare Centre Award
YOUR FEEDBACK MATTERS
Our practice is shaped by meaningful engagement with our families and community. If you could add something to our program, come up with great ideas, or know of resources or people we can contact could please send us an email on Jennifer@kidscollege.com.au as we really do value your input.
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