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ERIC Number: EJ898714
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-1538-6619
Classroom Pets and Young Children: Supporting Early Development
Meadan, Hedda; Jegatheesan, Brinda
Young Children, v65 n3 p70-77 May 2010
Many young children have a natural attraction to and curiosity about animals. They like to observe, touch, talk to, and ask questions about them. Teachers and parents both can use this broad interest to facilitate children's development and learning in a variety of domains. Research shows that children across ages find emotional comfort in their relationships with animals. They feel at ease talking to their pets about their fears, joys, frustrations, and everyday events and activities. In this article the authors employ the teaching pyramid as a framework for using pets to promote children's social-emotional development in early childhood settings. The "teaching pyramid" is a model for supporting social competence and preventing challenging behavior in young children. It is based on principles of positive behavior support (PBS), research on effective teaching of young children, and effective strategies for promoting children's social competence. The model includes four levels of practice to address the needs of all children: (1) building positive relationships with children, families, and colleagues; (2) implementing classroom preventive practices and creating supportive environments; (3) using social and emotional teaching strategies; and (4) planning intensive individualized interventions. The central idea in the model is that addressing the first three levels meets the needs of most children in the group. Only a small number of children in a given classroom may require the more intensive support of individualized interventions (level 4). The teaching ideas are based on both the research suggesting that pets can help support the social-emotional development of children with and without disabilities and the authors' experience as teachers who have had pets in their classrooms. Level 4 of the teaching pyramid requires intensive individualized intervention, hence it is not included in this article.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. 1313 L Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 22205-4101. Tel: 800-424-2460; Tel: 202-232-8777; Fax: 202-328-2649; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A