HAND IN HAND PROFESSIONAL CHILDCARE
We have a number of pets within the setting. These include:
A Leopard Gecko named Sponge who was purchased to accompany our late Treacle. We were lucky enough to have successful pregnancies. The children enjoyed watching the development of the eggs through to hatchlings, and I must admit to being a little excited myself. We are hoping to continue this success in the future as the children enjoyed the experience, and learn a great deal, without realising it.
Our Cat is called Ninja and she is a Tortoiseshell - so named as she completed some fantastic acrobatic moves when we brought her home from Benton Cat shelter.
The Tropical Aquarium is a source of relaxation for children - they go in a private world when watching the fish swim by. We have had a number of pregnancies since its arrival, and everyone has watched in wonder as the tiny fish arrive. It is interesting to watch how they grow larger, and I am under strict instructions to make sure they are fed at the right time!
A Bearded Dragons called Jaffa is a lizard who prefers very high heat, and kept in a large vivarium. The children have said (s)he reminds them of a dinosaur ...
We also have two Degus called Binkle and Flip - Enid Blyton readers may recognise the names. They are also known, apparently, as ground squirrels (hence the reference in my Ofsted Report) due to the way they sit and eat their nuts.
Smokey and Gizmo are our 'new' guinea pigs as Blossom joined her friends at Rainbow Bridge (we adopted her from two of 'my' children who moved to Kuwait).
All animals are kept clean and well cared for.
Ninja does like to explore outdoors, and as such is a worry as she has no road sense to speak of (although the children do try and explain about looking both ways...). She enjoys sitting on the wall and getting lots of kind words and strokes of passers by.
I have found that the pets help children to settle, and gives them a focus, being a great comfort.
Children help to feed / care for them - age dependent.
Pets are also a great introduction to Hygiene - encouraging hand washing after handling / stroking.