Children who are supported in their love for animals also tend to extend this love and care to other living things, such as plants and insects. Research shows that children with a strong affinity for animals also tend to be kinder, more empathetic and sensitive towards other people.
Contemporary thinkers consider animals to be the “fourth teacher” in early childhood development, acknowledging the importance of caring for and simply being with animals in developing children’s sense of empathy, responsibility and belonging. Being responsible for the care of an animal helps children develop these skills, while also teaching them about nature, ecology and the importance of caring for the environment.
Children can truly thrive when allowed opportunities to explore natural environments and interactions with animals. At Young Friends, with our giant rabbits, Bruce and Chopper and our gorgeous Labradors, Annie and Landa, our children have opportunities to experience animal encounters that they may not have at home.