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Term and YearFall 2021
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AbstractBackground: During the past decade, animals in elementary classrooms have been much more prevalent now than ever before, improving the education of children in addition to mental and physical health. Objective: This study aims to research the theories behind having animals in the elementary classroom and the benefits to the students. This study examined teachers' attitudes and experiences regarding animals in the classroom. The study aimed to discover the environmental benefits of stress reduction, educational purposes, and personal development in young students. Design and Method: The research method is based on peer-reviewed literature consisting of scholarly articles, journals, dissertations, online articles, children's books, and infographics. Thus including literature from 2000 to current studies and novels being written. The research performed is qualitative and descriptive in itself and, when dissected, becomes arrayed with similarities and differences. The main research questions studied are: Do animals benefit elementary school-aged students in the classroom setting? What are the most common benefits received? Can the benefits be emotional, physical, and environmental? Can engaging in animal-assisted classrooms help children in the future? Results: The significance of this study is that when teachers introduce animals, such as dogs, lizards, or rabbits, into the classroom, they can provide various benefits to the individual child physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Conclusions: When introducing classroom pets, such as therapy dogs (Friesen, 2009), or educational animals like frogs and reptiles, there are often positive outcomes for the young individual to be able to incorporate life into education, emotional benefits, and psychological benefits. Some often worry about including animals in their classroom with possible high upkeep and costs, fear of animals aging, and young students seeing death. This study concludes that when incorporating animals into not just education but life, these are often common in any animal owner's life. Students learn compassion, empathy, and the life cycle from the living organism in a setting where they spend most of their time at school. Bringing animals into the classroom can be costly, but the experience and learning the children receive are significant and can be life-changing. Keywords: Elementary Education, Therapy Animal, Empathy, Elementary School, Classroom Pets, Animals in the Classroom