PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Students can stand eye-to-eye with a bearded dragon or write about a hamster’s habitat with help from a Pets in the Classroom grant from PetSmart® (NASDAQ: PETM), available now for the 2013 school year in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Administered through the Pet Care Trust, the program helps pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade teachers cover most of the cost of a classroom pet and start-up supplies.
Grants are available to help with the introduction of a fish, guinea pig, hamster, bearded dragon, leopard gecko, snake, fancy rat, parakeet or aquatic turtle. Since 2011 PetSmart has provided more than 7,500 grants to teachers, helping hundreds of thousands of students experience the hands-on learning and fun of classroom pets.
“I recently introduced a corn snake to my class with help from a Pets in the Classroom grant, and I've been thrilled with the excitement and engagement the pet brings to my students,” said Meryl Davidson, a first-grade teacher at Pinehurst Elementary School in Pinehurst, N.C. “Not only is a reptile a great way to support learning around math, science and reading, but our snake also encourages wonderful exploration and fun in the classroom.”
Classroom pets are great for kids because they can be easy to care for and demonstrate unique behaviors that can get everyone excited about learning, according to PetSmart. Additionally, pets can help teach important lessons and support kids’ school performance. For example:
- Pets help adults create a welcoming environment in the classroom and more easily relate with their students.
- Bonding with a pet can give students a common ground with each other, and therefore encourage friendships and positive interactions.
- Since kids often view pets as friends, classroom pets can encourage good behavior. For example, a teacher can tell students to use inside-voices because too much noise may scare the pet. In turn, students understand and respond.
- Shy or struggling students may improve skills such as reading when the audience is a pet.
“The Pets in the Classroom program provides more teachers and students the opportunity to experience the joys of a classroom pet and enriching learning environments,” said Dr. Kemba Marshall, PetSmart veterinarian. “Fish, small pets, reptiles, and birds can be easily integrated into a teacher’s curriculum and provide valuable opportunities to demonstrate responsibility and kindness in the classroom.”
Teachers can review information about caring for and choosing a pet at www.mypetsmart.com/care-guides or by talking with a PetSmart store associate.
To apply or obtain more information about Pets in the Classroom grants, public or private-school teachers should visit www.petsmart.com/teachers.
PetSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM) is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. The company employs approximately 52,000 associates and operates more than 1,301 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, over 196 in-store PetSmart® PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities and is a leading online provider of pet supplies and pet care information (http://www.petsmart.com). PetSmart provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and pet products; and offers dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart Doggie Day CampSM day care services and pet adoption services. Through its in-store pet adoption partnership with PetSmart Charities®, PetSmart has helped save the lives of more than 5 million pets since 1994. PetSmart Charities, Inc. and PetSmart Charities of Canada, Inc. (“PetSmart Charities”) are independent, nonprofit organizations that save the lives of homeless pets and reduce shelter intake through spay/neuter efforts. In 2012, nearly 450,000 dogs and cats found homes through the organization's adoption centers in all PetSmart stores and by sponsoring community adoption events. PetSmart Charities is the leader in granting money to help pets in need, with more than $28 million given in 2012 throughout North America.