Pre-kindergarten through 9th-grade teachers who are interested in owning or already own a classroom pet can apply to receive funding through the Pets in the Classroom grant program
Published: July 31, 2021
The grant program provides funding for a small animal or pet supplies to pre-kindergarten through 9th-grade teachers in both private and public schools who desire to introduce a pet into the classroom or who already have a pet in the classroom. Interested teachers are welcome to apply.
The program was established by the Pet Care Trust with the knowledge that, while pets are a valuable teaching tool, many teachers have very limited resources for the support of classroom animals. Through the grant program, teachers have the option of obtaining a pet from one of the program’s participating retailers — Petco, Petsmart, Pet Supermarket, Pet Supplies Plus, and Petland — or of purchasing their pet from a local pet store through a rebate grant. Past grant recipients are not eligible to receive funding for a new classroom pet but are welcome to apply for a sustaining grant, which provides up to $50 to maintain an existing classroom pet or purchase another classroom pet. With seven different grant types available, each teacher has the opportunity to choose the grant that is right for him or her through a direct, no-hassle application on the Pets in the Classroom website (www.PetsintheClassroom.org).
Whether in the classroom or in remote learning, classroom pets have made a substantial impact in the lives of students during the challenging 2020-21 school year. Through a survey conducted this spring by the Pets in the Classroom grant program, teachers across the U.S. and Canada shared valuable insight into the multitude of ways that students are benefiting from interacting with pets in an educational setting. According to the survey, 99 percent of respondents said that having a pet in the classroom has been a positive experience, with one teacher stating, “This has been a seriously awesome opportunity for my classroom. Everything about the program has really taken my children to the next level of academics, curiosity, social-emotional awareness, science, art, math….you name it, having pets has truly added an amazing amount of new learning opportunities. Thank you so much!”
The data from the survey showed the differences that classroom pets are making:
- 98% of teachers saw an increase in empathy and compassion, thanks to a classroom pet.
- 98% of teachers saw an increase in student responsibility.
- 98% of teachers saw an increase in student engagement.
- 80% of teachers saw an improvement in attendance due to their classroom pet.
- 96% of teachers saw an increase in social skills.
- 95% of teachers saw some decrease in anxiety among students.
- 93% of teachers surveyed saw an improvement in students’ self-esteem.
- 89% saw a decrease in necessary student disciplinary measures.
- 78% of teachers saw an improvement in test/academic performance.
The survey results, coupled with studies and thousands of previously shared teachers’ experiences, show the many benefits that pets can provide to students. Especially after this difficult school year, classroom pets were a much-needed resource for students needing social-emotional support — from children who were able to overcome crippling anxiety upon returning to school, to those whose anger and behavioral issues subsided after a classroom pet helped them learn empathy, to those who needed extra encouragement during remote learning, and more.
During the 2020-21 school year, 12,401 Pets in the Classroom grants were awarded, bringing the total number of grants to over 183,597 since the program’s inception in 2011. As we anticipate continued challenges heading into a new school year, the Pets in the Classroom grant program is ready to help by providing funding for classroom pets to pre-K – 9th-grade teachers across the U.S. and Canada beginning August 1.
For more information, visit www.PetsintheClassroom.org.