The children at Portland House have a new furry friend, Thumper the rabbit. He is white and grey and lives in a special hut outside in the nursery garden. We introduced the pet rabbit as a result of following the children’s interests in life cycles and also their pets at home.

Introducing pets into the nursery environment enables the children to learn how to take care of a living animal. Caring for pets provides opportunity for rich first-hand experience for extending the children’s learning.

Teaching children safe and gentle ways around animals helped break down preconceptions that animals are mean and harmful. Children are usually receivers of care and having a pet puts them in the reverse role of caregiver. They learn to anticipate, recognise, and respond to their pet’s needs, such as when pets need to be fed, groomed, or shown affection. It teaches them a valuable lesson in taking responsibility in caring for animals.

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