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May

Teaching About Pets As Part of The Early Learning Years Framework

Teaching About Pets As Part Of The Early Learning Years Framework
Posted on May 29 2024 Categories:

Not everyone is a natural pet lover. Most children though, find animals fascinating and need to be helped to understand them.

Most early learning years framework providers will spend time talking about pets and animals in general, though their approaches and values may differ.

An early learning years framework – why pets?
Many families have pets and therefore their children often arrive at an early learning centre with some familiarity with cats, dogs, goldfish etc.
Some children though have had little exposure to domestic pets other than what they might have seen on TV. Even in some farming families, pets might be absent from the home.
So, many early learning program providers will invest time talking about pets and other animals.

Objectives
Almost all children find pets fascinating. It’s an easy subject to choose that is almost guaranteed to seize and captivate their attention. Few teachers report difficulties persuading their pupils to spend time looking at animals or listening to stories and information about them!

This isn’t simply a ‘quick win’ for an early learning years framework. The objective is to encourage children’s thought processes, increase their attention span and stimulate their imagination through drawing and painting. Almost all children welcome the chance to draw and paint animals – real or imaginary.

There are also some more subtle objectives to talking about pets, namely to:

  • help create respect for the animal world and kindness towards animals;
  • show children that they and everyone is a part of that wider animal existence;
  • encompass these study subjects into a better understanding of the world of nature and their surrounding environment;
  • encourage them to consider best hygiene practices where animals are concerned.

Values
It is recognised that not all parents approve of keeping pets. Some may consider it inappropriate and undignified for the animals concerned.
Even so, pets form a major part of the lives of many. As such, children should be encouraged to understand and respect them should they, as may be inevitable, come into contact with them when they’re with friends or other family members.

Hygiene
Children will be encouraged to understand why personal hygiene is important when caring for pets.

They’ll be taught:

  • handwashing before and after handling pets;
  • avoidance of pets’ waste products;
  • not to try and eat pet food;
  • awareness of the risks of bites or related injury – but without encouraging the development of phobias;
  • the importance of keeping pets in clean hygienic and well-maintained surroundings, both for the pet’s health and that of the owner.

Activities
As part of familiarisation with nature teaching, some centres may encourage children to interact with some carefully selected and harmless types of pets.

Where a child has known allergies or in cases where parents have objections, in principle, to handling domestic animals, these should be communicated to the centre’s staff in advance. Most centres will happily accommodate alternative activities for the child or children concerned.