Class Pets Go Beyond Academics
OLPH School in Ellicott City, MD, found the right opportunity to introduce their Pre-K class to the joys and responsibility that comes with pet ownership. During her first month at OLPH, Katie Lomp, the Instructional Assistant in the Pre-K4 class, took it upon herself to search for an opportunity to welcome a pet to their classroom. To that end, Katie discovered “Pets In the Classroom, “an educational grant program that provides
financial support to teachers to acquire and care for small animals in a classroom setting. After completing the application, Miss Lomp and Mrs. Ames and their Pre-K4 students enthusiastically received their award. Which meant it was time to go to the pet store and pick out their class pet.
Thanks to participating pet stores like Petco, the teachers were able to pick out a lovely Beta Fish, an aquarium, and other resources to care for it.
With so many fish to choose from, Ms. Lomp and Mrs. Ames decided upon a fish that matched the school’s colors, blue. According to Petco’s website, “Bettas are known for their jewel-bright colors and spectacular fins.” The kids in the class observed the deep blue color and decided to name it “Midnight.” Their fish is officially a member of the class.
Benefits of Class Pets
OLPH School is exceptionally fortunate to have educators on staff who always imagine and research unique ways to facilitate interactive learning so students can explore their subject matter through first-person touch, feel, smell. Indeed, the care for a pet by OLPH’s youngest students reflects such a forward-thing approach to engaged student learning.
Whether it’s the pursuit of mastering Math (“how much does a hamster weigh?”) or Science (“what does a snake eat?”), Geography (“what part of the world do ferrets come from?”) or Grammar (“what words would we use to describe a goldfish?”) students will approach learning all these subjects with new enthusiasm and interest.
To date, the pre-k students at OLPH have employed engineering skills when assembling Midnight’s tank and enjoyed exploring environmental concepts when discussing the particulars of their new fish’s habitat in Science. Plus, the practiced responsibility shown by students when they feed, check the water temperature and turn on the tank light each day is an intangible learning opportunity that the parents of the students appreciate. “It makes me happy to see Midnight every morning,” Reagan, a Pre-K student, said as he favorite thing about their new class pet. Having a class pet has brought the class together this year as they have shared the joy of responsible pet ownership and anticipation of being with their fish each day.