“There are many benefits to children having pets, including relief of stress and anxiety and helping to develop empathy and self-confidence,” said MercyCare Ballajura Early Learning Centre Manager Amanda Andrew.
“It’s also great for their social and emotional wellbeing.”
Many MercyCare Early Learning centres have pets for children to love and learn with.
At our Ballajura Early Learning Centre, there are lots of animals to love – chickens, guinea pigs, fish, rabbits and hermit crabs – and the kids can’t get enough of them.
“The children help to feed all the animals, make sure they have enough water to drink and collect eggs,” Amanda said.
“They also help rake out their pens and keep things clean and tidy.
“The animals are a big part of our centre and the children love them.”
The animals are also part of the Centre’s Environmental Sustainability program.
Fresh greens are picked from the vegie patch by the children to feed the animals and leftover scraps from mealtimes are diverted from landfill and fed to the animals instead.
According to Amanda, animals can make the settling in process easier for children who are new to childcare.
Pets provide a friendly and familiar face for children every morning and they provide enormous comfort with each cuddle.
As well as playing with their furry and feathered friends, children learn how to be gentle with animals and why it is so important to respect and look after them, no matter how big or small they are.