National Pet Month is a registered charity celebrating its 30th year. They aim to ‘raise awareness of responsible pet ownership, celebrate the benefits of pets and encourage fundraising for the nation’s pets.’ National Pet Month explains that, “Thousands of people up and down the UK will be celebrating life with their pets: spreading the word on responsible pet ownership, raising money for their favourite UK pet charity in fun-filled events.” According to the RSPCA, “over 58.4 million animals are kept as pets in the UK.” Unfortunately, not all those pets get the care they need and deserve, so you can see the necessity for increased awareness.
Why should schools get involved?
With so many of these awareness days, weeks and months, you have to really consider if there are enough benefits in taking part. If you took got involved in all of these various events, you’d struggle to plan anything else. In this case though, I would argue there are some really good learning opportunities.
Here are the 3 key reasons why I think schools would benefit from taking part:
- You can teach some engaging lessons that will peak pupil interest
- You can teach about core values like empathy, kindness and responsibility
- The content is relevant, linking to pupil life experiences
Learning about pets would link in well with learning areas across the school such as Science, PSED, Communication and Language, PSHE and more, so it’s an easy topic to tie in to your teaching.
How can schools get involved?
- Invite visitors from local animal charities to visit, so they can explain first hand how to take care of pets
- Ask children who have pets how they look after them- create care diaries, videos etc. for how to take care of different pets
- Teach children about empathy and responsibility, help them understand how their actions determine how an animal feels as well as its physical health
- Research types of animals and what they need to survive, habitats etc.
- Reach out to parents/carers, invite in those who work with animals e.g. Vets, to talk about their jobs and their experiences with animals
- Learn about working and assistance animals, their importance, training etc. (maybe even see if one could come visit e.g. a therapy dog)
- If you do have any therapy pets in school, demonstrate how to take care of them e.g. bringing some pupils along when they need a walk or such like
- Visit a local farm to learn about farm animals, in Spring time you may have the opportunity to bottle feed lambs etc.
- Access free teaching resources from the links below
- You could also raise donations in school for a local animal charity to show pupils that it’s good to give to others in need.
Sources and Further Reading