Our Animals

Our Animals

Animals at Our Monkey Club

At Our Monkey Club we understand that learning to care for animals and watch them change of grow is a vital part of our children’s experience with us.

Our children learn to care for the animals taking part in all elements of their hygiene and care routines including cleaning out the habitats, preparing meals and feeding the animals, checking them over and even being a part of more complex care such as clipping claws and fur. Through this care, children learn about their impact on others and also how compassionate we need to be in caring for others that are more vulnerable. They learn to think about the animals as a joint responsibility and often take pride in their caring role. Many of our children will seek out these opportunities and even help others to learn effective practice with the animals.
Our Animals

Our Children Learn to Respond to the Animals

Our children also learn to respond to the animals needs such as being quiet, calm and still around the more skittish animals or being gentle when holding them or moving them. They also learn to think about their lives and how to make them fun. Our children have made runs for our guinea pigs with our unit blocks for many years or having the gerbils out in a ball to race about. They have made additions for their cages and created more interested things for our rabbits to explore when they were with us such as places to hide to jump on or over.

When we had our chickens (unfortunately moved to other homes during COVID), our children experienced first hand the collecting of eggs and each year we watched and the mothers sat on the eggs until we got to look after our chicks! It was magical and the children loved the experience. During these uncertain times we feel it is unwise to set a coup up again, but one day when live returns to a predictable rhythm this is something we will reinstate. Until then we are sourcing incubators and local farmers to help us raise chicks each year anyway!
Our Animals Comfort The Children

Our Animals

We also raise butterflies every year and the children love being involved from the very beginning as the set up the caterpillars and watch the cycle until we have our days of experiencing our butterfly tent and having them flutter around us and then free them into the wild. The children are engaged with this from the day the arrive until the day they are released and I can’t think of another activity that would help our children experience the life cycle in such a meaningful way. While we love The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, it is so much more powerful once the children have experienced this first hand!

While all of these technical elements of learning are amazing opportunities and experiences for our children, the most powerful reason behind why we keep animals is the love and relationships that develop between the children and their pets. When our first guinea pig, Bingo, died, our children were devastated but quickly rallied together to create his funeral. They designed a show box coffin, found a safe place to bury him, created tokens for the grave and then held a funeral. Some even spoke and shared stories about their memories of Bingo. This powerful experience was important to our children and my daughter is 16 and still remembers this day and she was 7 at the time. The experienced loss as a group and supported each other through a safe grieving process and ‘role played’ the entire funeral process. All of these things allowed a safe exploration of emotions that for many are overwhelming and scary.

Our animals comfort our children when they are sad or scared and they can sit stroking a guinea pig as they come to terms with their day. Our animals make our children laugh as they eat the food out of their hands. They create joy, curiosity and wonder as butterflies grow and change in front of their eyes and flutter around their heads. They help the children feel proud of the care and relationships they have with our animals.

We will always commit to having animals in each of our centre’s and remember just how much they teach our children and how much our children learn from them.