Zasloff R, Hart L, DeArmond H. Animals in elementary school education in California. J Appl Anim Welf Sci. 1999; 2(4):347-357

PMID: 16363938


The purpose of this project was to provide preliminary, descriptive data concerning the uses of nonhuman animals in northern California elementary school classrooms. The project comprised a mail survey that was sent to all elementary school teachers in Stanislaus County, California, followed by a workshop with survey respondents. Information gathered included that about animals and the use of animals, the learning objectives for the animal-related instructional activities, and the kinds of resources that would help teachers to improve or expand their existing animal-related activities or to create new ones. Most of the teachers were keeping either live animals or a variety of nonliving specimens in the classroom. They reported that animals and information about animals are popular and effective foci of instruction throughout the primary grades. The majority of respondents stated that live animals, in addition to providing formal lessons in science and cross-curricular instruction, are important for teaching children humane values. They also reported the many drawbacks of maintaining live classroom animals, such as the responsibility and cost of ongoing care, potential health and safety issues for the children, and concerns about the welfare of the animals. Because animals used in precollege education are not subject to legal regulations in the United States, some degree of oversight by the school or school district may help to avert potential problems.

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