I'll never forget how excited I was to find out that I had Mrs. Tabak for 4th grade! Why? Because EVERYONE knew her classroom had a class box turtle! 

The first week of August is kind of bittersweet for a lot of our teacher friends across the Treasure Valley.  The kids may not be back in the classroom yet, but many of you are headed back to work to prep for the 2018-2019 school year.  Do those plans include the addition of a classroom pet to your curriculum?  If they do, don't head to the pet store just yet! You may be able to get that new critter for free!

According to Simple Most, a non-profit called Pet Care Trust has a program called "Pets in the Classroom" that allows teachers of grades K-9 to apply for a grant that covers most of the cost of bring a small animal into the classroom thanks to their partnership with stores like Petco and PetSmart.  Depending which store you pick you classroom could receive their choice of anything from beta fish or a bearded dragon to a guinea pig or aquatic turtle!

Teachers who already have classroom pets can apply for a sustaining grant to help with the costs of supplies for the classroom critter.

Pet Care Trust does recommend that teachers wait until the kids get back to school to pick your pet so that you can choose the new friend as a class.  They also have a great list of things to consider before getting the pet like how to provide the pet with a safe, clean environment, who will care for the pet on weekends, extended breaks and over the summer and how to put together a plan in case the pet gets sick and needs to go to a vet.

I'm a big advocate for having animals in the classroom! Mrs. Tabak let a different student take Joey the box turtle home each weekend.  During Joey's stay in the home, students had the opportunity to work on their writing skills by journaling what they did with Joey.  I'd always wanted a box turtle and spending time with Joey showed my parents that I was responsible enough to finally get my own!

If you're a Treasure Valley teacher interested in taking advantage of this cool program click HERE to learn more. Applications are accepted between now and June 1, 2019!