26 July 2021
At Treetops Early Learning Centres we believe in the value of having animals within our learning environment. We consider caring for animals a good way for children to develop confidence, compassion, respect and knowledge.
Here at Treetops Botany, we offer first-hand opportunities to experience pet interactions. In our Kea room, we have a pet bunny named Bubbles. We all love furry cuddles and we appreciate experiencing the ways that different animals look, eat, move, sound and feel. Research shows that animal interactions can improve a child’s social interaction, can reduce stress and anxiety and can increase motivation and learning.
Bubbles is well cared for and supplied with fresh food and water on a daily basis. The children are encouraged to participate in caring for Bubbles, making sure his welfare is our first priority.
We feel that animals like our Mini Lop bunny Bubbles can offer our children a feeling of security and comfort, providing a friend to bond with in our early childcare setting. Our children are given the opportunity to spend time with Bubbles, and it’s does much more than just stimulating their senses. Connecting with Bubbles enables the children to feel secure and confident to explore something new and also helps support their sense of well-being within their environment.
When children interact with animals, they build the all-important senses of connection, empathy and caring. They feel a sense of responsibility and are curious to find out more about the animal. Caring for a pet instills respect for life and an awareness of the needs of others as well as giving children an understanding of how their behaviour can affect others. Having pets like rabbits offers a range of opportunities and learning experiences. The teachers serve as role models for the appropriate ways to handle Bubbles and they always ensure that children wash their hands before and after handling pets or any of Bubbles' equipment.
On special occasions families may be invited to bring their pets to the centre. At other times children have the opportunity to take Bubbles home over the weekends, ensuring he is well fed and cared for.