When children experience connections with animals, it can have a lasting impact on their health, social skills and ability to show empathy.
If children are not regularly exposed to a variety of wildlife and animals (through pets or visiting animal centers or zoos) it is a fantastic opportunity to bring animal presentations to their classroom! Not only will the children be excited for this school experience but several studies conclude that allowing an animal program like our Zovargo Educational Programs, come into your classroom will have lots of positive impacts.
Outlined below are some of the leading studies that highlight these positive influences animals make in an educational setting:
1.) A 2017 study by the American Educational Research Association Open (AERA Open) found that:
a. Animals facilitated social interactions acting as buffers.
b. The presence of animals moderated the physiological response to stress. (Which is important in testing/exam periods).
c. When animals are in science classrooms they provide measurable motivation (see graphic below) to keep students engaged which promotes deeper learning.
2.) A 2013 study looked specifically at Guinea Pigs in the School Classroom:
a. After an 8-week period of guinea pig presence in the classroom children had demonstrated significant improvement in their social functions.
b. The study also noted decreases in problem behaviors.
3.) A study in Canada analyzed literacy in learning environments:
a. In addition to establishing a supportive and engaging learning environment, the animal-assisted literacy learning sessions provided meaningful opportunities for literacy skill development.
b. Animal-assisted sessions invited playful, purposeful interactions which allowed for children to become more aware of their own behavioral concerns regarding attention span and patience.
Bonus Data: A study on Emphatic Differences in Adults as a Function of Childhood and Adult Pet Ownership:
a. Empathy and positive attitude were attributed to the correlation of childhood pet ownership.
b. Empathy was higher for those children who had a preference for horses and birds. This finding was true also of children who owned a cat and a dog were more empathetic than those who owned a single cat or dog.
How is Zovargo making a difference with our Animal Educational Programs in San Diego County? Our educational animal programs travel to schools, scouts, libraries, and support special private events as well. The mobile component of Zovargo takes the pressure off schools trying to coordinate a field trip! We are also highly regarded for providing a safe, comfortable environment for children to interact with and learn about the animals.
Research continues in this area, but one theme remains: animals DO make a lasting difference in the lives of children, especially in an educational setting. While Zovargo's animal ambassadors don't get to stay in the classroom for an extended stay, our visits make a difference! Recently, a parent provided a moving comment about her child during one of our programs:
My oldest [child] has animal anxiety but he was actually felt comfortable and was able to pet one of the animals. It was so awesome! The staff was great. The animals were fantastic. I love what they do here!..Excellent!!
Zovargo's award-winning animal educational program San Diego not only are customizable programs for your classroom, we travel to you, include Next Generation Science Standards, and we hope to leave a lasting impact that may help the students in other areas of their lives. Consider booking the compassionate, patient team of animals and Animal Educators at Zovargo for your next animal assembly or classroom animal program!