Guest blogger: Crissi Lanier, Interpretive Media Intern
A.D.O.P.T. in YOUR classroom!!
As the time of starting back to school approaches, I have a fun idea for your classroom that was a lot of fun in mine! I’m the Assistant Coordinator and Toddler Teacher at the Children’s Center. My friend/co-teacher and I work with children 18 months to 3 years old. We’re always trying to come up with ways to bring the outside world in and encourage learning about any topic they are interested in. We learned quickly that almost all of these kids love the Zoo. Even if they don’t visit often, they are still excited to tell about their animal adventures, favorite sights and sounds and even how much they love the train ride!
This past year we decided as a classroom to A.D.O.P.T. Joseph the cougar. Each family was asked to donate $1, which went to the cost of the adoption. We explained to the children during group time about how the money helps the Zoo care for the animals like feeding the cougars, as well as providing enrichment (e.g. toys) and medication when needed. These are things that two-year-olds understand and they were excited to “help take care of Joseph”. We also created the poster below that hung in the classroom with our adoption certificate, as well as pictures of Joseph for the kids to look at.
They were so excited to tell us when they had visited the Zoo over the weekend and if they saw Joseph or not. It was a simple but ongoing lesson of caring for animals and having a feeling of responsibility towards this cat, and in turn broadening their view of the world. They would say it was “their Joseph” with great pride when they saw him at the Zoo.
So as this new school year approaches, I encourage you to incorporate A.D.O.P.T. in your classroom at any level from Pre-K to high school. There are so many lessons that can be incorporated in to this process ranging from basics of size and touch, to more in-depth lessons such as adaptations and habitat loss. It also encourages responsibility for the animals and a sense of pride of the Zoo and the animals that live there. Most importantly, it helps the Cincinnati Zoo care for these animals and encourages the students and their families to visit when possible. It may even inspire students to become more actively engaged and to include their families in their animal stories and actions.
This was a great part of our year last year and we plan on adopting another animal this fall!
To learn more about how to A.D.O.P.T. an animal, click here.