How to celebrate Love Your Pet Day
We celebrate Love Your Pet Day at Choklits, a day that is dedicated to celebrating the special bond between humans and their pets. This day serves as a reminder to appreciate and show love to our animal friends who bring so much joy and happiness into our lives. As parents and carers of young children, it is important to understand the role that pets can play in a child’s life and how it relates to learning and development, and the early years learning framework.
The early years learning framework (EYLF) is an Australian government initiative that outlines the principles and practices for early childhood education and care services. It aims to support children’s learning and development through play-based experiences and meaningful interactions with the world around them. One of the key outcomes of the EYLF is to support children to develop strong and positive relationships with others, including animals.
Pets play a significant role in a child’s development, particularly in the early years. They provide children with an opportunity to develop empathy, responsibility, and nurturing skills. When a child is involved in caring for a pet, they learn about love, care, and compassion, which are all important qualities for building strong relationships with others. Additionally, pets can also provide children with a sense of security and comfort, particularly during times of stress or change.
Incorporating pets into our curriculum provides children with many benefits. For example, children can develop their communication and language skills through talking about pets, asking questions and learning about different types of animals. They can also explore their creativity and imagination through play, drawing pictures of their pets or pretending to be animals themselves. Children can also learn about the world around them through observation and investigation of their pets, helping them to develop their science and technology skills.
As early childhood educators at Choklits it’s important to recognise the benefits of incorporating pets into our curriculum and the different ways we can celebrate Love Your Pet Day and use it as a learning opportunity. At Choklits in Ringwood, I bring my dog Hamish in for the children to meet and interact with. The day is always a blast and a very popular one with the children. We talk in small groups about dogs, what it’s like to care for a dog and amongst many other things, what makes dogs happy. The children also have the opportunity to share their own stories about their pets which always leads to some constructive (and often funny) conversations. Hamish is capable of a few tricks whenever there’s the reward of food on offer which provides another great opportunity for discussion and learning.
Other ways to provide children with learning opportunities for the day is to provide materials and resources that promote learning about pets, such as books, videos, and toys. Educators also create opportunities for children to engage in pet-related activities, such as making pet beds, creating pet food, or even visiting a pet store.
When bringing pets in the early learning environment, it is very important to consider the safety and well-being of both the children and the pets. We complete a full risk assessment at Choklits to ensure safety for everyone involved. It is recommended that pet visits who visit early childhood services are supervised and that pets are vaccinated and well-behaved. Educators should also educate children about safe and appropriate ways to interact with pets, such as how to approach them and how to show care and affection in the days before any pets arrive to ensure safety remains the first priority.
In conclusion, Love Your Pet Day is an important day to celebrate the special bond between humans and their pets. It is important to understand the role that pets can play in a child’s life and how this can be incorporated into general learning. By providing opportunities for children to interact with pets and engage in pet-related activities, we can support their learning and development in meaningful ways. With a focus on safety and well-being, incorporating pets can provide children with a wealth of benefits and support their growth and development in the early years.
Written by Choklits Educational Leader Janine Fox