At Hughenden Public School (HPS) teacher, Susan Reynolds has always kept animals in her room to provide students with the chance to connect and learn with the animals.
The current host of critters, a corn snake, a tortoise, two bearded dragons and several fish have been given funny names like Snaky for the snake and Tort for the tortoise.
Ms. Reynolds encourages students to take the animals out of their enclosures, to feed them and interact with them, even to carry them around the school to show others.
“I keep animals in the classroom as they provide important connections for learning and help to nurture empathy in everyone,’’ said Reynolds.
Students think it is a great idea for Ms. Reynolds to keep the animals in the school because it adds a unique part to the school experience, and they help provide students with great learning they wouldn’t otherwise experience.
Students who are new to the school often take time in their mornings to visit the Science classroom where the animals are kept and some students take pride in volunteering to help Reynolds with their care and feeding.
Reynolds also encourages the animals and students to share the classroom during instructional time whenever possible, and students can often be seen completing biology work with a critter on one shoulder.
Marco, one of the two bearded dragon lizards, has an adventurous spirit and often wanders into the hall if there is nothing interesting for her to learn during class.
Students and staff alike are learning to interact with the animals and help to care for them in and outside of school hours.
by Zac Rochon, Kimberly Hoyt