Talking about animals uniquely provides students an ideal forum to practice the skills they will need in the 21st century, such as listening, perspective-taking and critical thinking; skills business leaders claim are missing in the workforce. Business leaders surveyed by Peter D. Hart Associates in 2008 say they struggle with employees who do not work well on teams, do not participate well in discussions and cannot appreciate other’s views. The lack of social skills has also been identified in schools. Only 29-45% of surveyed 6-12th graders report that they had social competencies such as empathy, decision making and conflict resolution skills, and only 29% say their schools provide a caring, encouraging environment (Benson, 2006).
Talking about animals and learning about relationships with animals serves as the perfect vehicle to allow young students to practice the social and emotional skills they need to be successful. Children can connect with others over their shared interest and experiences with animals, and they can begin to unpack the elements that make up a good relationship, understand for themselves what it means to be “humane” and practice thinking about the well-being of others.
Talk about various zoo animals with your child
Ask a variety of questions like: "What does your animal look like?", "What does your animal do?" You can make it silly or real :)
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.