It’s that time of year again! As parents count down the days to the new school year, teachers are busy shopping for everything students will need in the classroom, such as school supplies, new books — and maybe a hermit crab or hamster.
Class pets can stimulate learning, teach responsibility and even support students’ emotional and mental growth. And now, teachers can apply for a grant through a program called Pets in the Classroom that helps cover the costs of purchasing and caring for a small animal for the classroom. In other words, teachers who receive the grant will essentially get a classroom pet for free.
What Is Pets In The Classroom?
The Pet Care Trust created the Pets in the Classroom grant program in 2011. The grants provide financial support to teachers of pre-K through ninth grade who want to want to buy and care for small animals as teaching tools, but don’t have the funding to do so.
Grant applications are now open for the 2021-2022 school year.
Pets In The Classroom Grant Details And Requirements
Pets in the Classroom offers three types of grants:
- Store grants, which you can use at one of six participating retailers,
- Rebate grants, which provide $75 for small animals such as a hamster, guinea pig or parakeet, or $125 for fish, reptiles or amphibians, and
- Sustaining grants for maintenance of current classroom pets.
There are only two requirements you must meet to qualify for a grant:
- You are a teacher for any grade from pre-K through ninth grade at a public or private school in the United States or Canada.
- You have not previously applied for a Pets in the Classroom grant (though if you have received a grant from Pets in the Classroom in the past, you can still apply for a sustaining grant, which provides $50 yearly for the maintenance of a current pet or a new animal).
Note that day-care centers and homeschools do not qualify for the program at this time.
After selecting the type of animal (the program provides several resources that can help you decide), choose a store partner in your area or choose a rebate grant and submit your application. You may only submit one application per school year.
Keep in mind that there will probably still be some out-of-pocket costs, even if you are approved. Applications are currently being accepted through June 1, 2022.
If you’re not a teacher but would like to get involved, you can make a donation in any amount or even sponsor a specific teacher or school.
To find out more or to apply, visit the Pets in the Classroom website.