Pets Positively Influence Education and Learning Development in Children!
To answer questions pertaining to the impact of pet ownership on childhood education and learning development, scholars at the University of Liverpool critically examined and combined the results of four high quality research studies. Their answers published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in March, 2017.
The authors concluded from the studies that children with pets were more likely to attribute biological properties to animals than those without pets. Further, the children possessed more factual knowledge of animal anatomy than non-pet owners, which suggests that pet ownership increases biological knowledge in children, they argued.
Drawing from a Swedish study, the authors revealed that childhood pet ownership aids learning by cultivating the development of empathy as well as improving competence in school related tasks. According to the authors of the Swedish study, “Pets provide children with positive experiences and a sense of feeling good whilst increasing their knowledge of social behaviour.” This, they surmised, may give “children a sense of importance, satisfaction and a desire to learn more.”
Finally, in a study of receptive vocabulary skills researchers found pet bonding resulted in higher verbal intelligence scores among 3–6-year-old children moderately bonded to their pets in comparison to non-pet-owning children.
The authors were also quick to point out that pet ownership is not without risks, especially for children under five years of age, who unknowingly, but frequently provoke animals into biting them.
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Reference: Purewal, R. et al, 2017. Companion Animals and Child/Adolescent Development: A Systematic Review. Online [available]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5369070/ [Accessed November 19, 2017].