Being in a childcare setting with age-appropriate pets helps children to develop their knowledge and understanding of the world and can promote personal, social and emotional development.
Pets can help children to learn to respect animals and be confident around them. However, animals can be unpredictable and may be unhygienic. This policy informs parents/carers of the pets that are in our setting and how we promote the benefits of having pets whilst also reducing the risks.
Pets within our setting
- We currently have:
- 4 cats, Fred, George, Shadow and Storm
Promoting the benefits of pets within our setting through:
- Speaking to children about the pets to encourage respect and confidence. Discussion will include what each pet likes and dislikes and how we can treat and handle each pet appropriately.
- Talking about the pet’s natural habitats.
- Exploring how related animals live.
- Including the pet’s names in stories we create.
- Pretending we are pets and other animals in imaginative play.
- Asking the children for further ideas on including the pets in activities.
Reducing risks from having pets in our setting through:
- The pets on the premises through their own choice keep well away from the children. They have no access to the childminding part of the property.
- Keeping pet food out of reach of children.
- Not allowing children to play with the pets unsupervised.
- Having the cats treated for fleas as appropriate.
- Keeping cats out of rooms in which babies / children are sleeping.
- Ensuring that children are aware that not all animals are child-friendly through talking to the children and by leading through example. This could be achieved through us asking other pet owners if it is appropriate before allowing children to touch their pets.
- Encouraging good hygiene by ensuring children know to wash hands properly after touching pets.