Teachers Turn to Classroom Pets to Provide Social and Emotional Support for Students

Over 15,500 teachers have received a grant toward a classroom pet since the Pets in the Classroom program opened for the 2022-23 school year on August 1.

Abingdon, MD, Oct. 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Many teachers are turning to classroom pets as they seek ways to provide social and emotional support for their students. The Pets in the Classroom grant program, which provides funding to teachers to purchase and maintain classroom pets, has issued over 15,500 grants to teachers during the first two months of the program being open for the 2022-23 school year (August 1 – September 30).

Established by the Pet Care Trust, the Pets in the Classroom grant program provides funding for a small animal or pet supplies to pre-kindergarten through 9th grade teachers in both private and public schools who desire to introduce a pet into the classroom or who already have a pet in the classroom. The program was established by the Pet Care Trust with the knowledge that, while pets are a valuable teaching tool, many teachers have very limited resources for the support of classroom animals.

“The Pets in the Classroom grant program is thrilled to be able to support so many teachers in their desire to provide the joys and benefits of interacting with a pet to their students,” said Matt Coffindaffer, Executive Director of the Pet Care Trust. “We have seen a large increase in grant applicants this school year and will continue to provide this resource to teachers throughout the school year.”

The increase in grant applications is not surprising, as many educators reported observing more social, emotional and behavioral challenges in their students returning to the classroom after the pandemic last year. As studies prove and teachers confirm, classroom pets serve as a much-needed resource for students who are experiencing anxiety, difficulty focusing, self-control problems, or who just need a friend.

Through a survey conducted this spring by the Pets in the Classroom grant program, teachers across the U.S. and Canada shared valuable insight into the multitude of ways that students are benefiting from interacting with pets in an educational setting:

  • 98% of teachers saw an increase in empathy and compassion, thanks to a classroom pet.
  • 98% of teachers saw an increase in student responsibility.
  • 98% of teachers saw an increase in student engagement.
  • 96% of teachers saw an increase in social skills.
  • 95% of teachers saw some decrease in anxiety among students.
  • 94% of teachers surveyed saw an improvement in students' self-esteem.
  • 90% saw a decrease in necessary student disciplinary measures.
  • 86% of teachers saw an improvement in attendance due to their classroom pet.
  • 84% of teachers saw an improvement in test/academic performance.

The survey results, which included hundreds of stories shared by teachers, reinforce the results of numerous studies: there are many benefits that pets can provide to students, especially in the form of social-emotional support. The teachers’ stories describe children who were able to overcome anxiety upon returning to school, those whose anger and behavioral issues subsided after a classroom pet helped them learn empathy, those who became motivated in learning, and more. One teacher stated, “Students ask to handle [our snake] while working on academics during the school day.  I have noticed that students with anxiety and other social-emotional needs benefit greatly from having Falcorito in the classroom and being able to handle him often…He has a very calming effect on these students who also come after school to have time to ‘hang out’ with Falcorito.  They also bring their friends from other classes to see how cool and calming he is, sharing the love of pet ownership and care across the school.”

Since the program’s inception in 2010, Pets in the Classroom has awarded over 218,215 grants to teachers, meaning an estimated 8.7 million children have experienced the joys and benefits of pet care through the grant program. As teachers look for more ways to help with students’ social-emotional needs, the Pets in the Classroom grant program is ready to help by providing funding for classroom pets to pre-K – 9th grade teachers across the U.S. and Canada.

For more information, visit www.PetsintheClassroom.org.




The Pets in the Classroom Grant Program Classroom Pets are Providing Social and Emotional Support

Contact Data