Funding will go toward purchase of classroom pets and supplies.
The Pets in the Classroom Grant Program, established by the Pet Care Trust, has expanded to give 7th and 8th grade teachers access to funding for classroom pets and pet supplies. Pet Care Trust, established in 2009, initially provided funding for teachers from pre-Kindergarten up to grade 6 to acquire or adopt pets and pet supplies for their classrooms, or to support pets already established in the classroom. The program has seen more than 7,000 grant requests since its inception, and the trust estimates that more than 210,000 students have been able to view and interact with the classroom pets because of the grants. Enabling 7th and 8th grade teachers to apply for the grants will increase the number of children exposed to classroom pets, where they can then learn how to care for the animals, the trust said. Grants awarded January 2010 to December 2011 included 1,512 for aquariums, 2,044 for small animals, and 1,092 for reptiles for a total of 4,648 grants.
"Middle school students will benefit from interaction with classroom pets as much or more than elementary school children," Pet Care Trust president Brent Weinmann said in a prepared statement. "7th and 8th grade teachers will be able to incorporate classroom pets into many study areas, helping their pre-teen students gain a greater understanding of the natural world and responsible pet ownership." Weinmann said, "This rapid expansion of grant requests is making our goal to reach one million students very realistic. To reach this number we estimate nearly $3 million in grants will need to be issued; The Trust is looking for companies or individuals willing to help us by sponsoring classrooms. As little as $100 can sponsor a classroom and reach approximately 30 kids."
More information on the grant program and how to apply for the grant can be found at.www.PetsintheClassroom.org.