fbpx Skip to main content


5 Reasons to Bring Animals into the Classroom for Social & Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the foundation of a well-rounded education, and it’s crucial for students to learn and develop their interpersonal skills, self-awareness, and self-regulation. However, traditional classroom settings may not always provide the best opportunities for students to learn and practice these skills. That’s where animals come in! Here are five reasons why incorporating animal encounters into your school’s SEL curriculum can make a huge impact.

  1. Increases Empathy and Compassion:

Animals are natural teachers of empathy and compassion. By interacting with and learning about the animals, students are able to understand the emotions and needs of others, promoting their empathy and compassion towards all creatures, including their classmates. This creates a more positive and inclusive classroom environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

  1. Improves Self-Awareness:

Animals are experts at reading body language and emotions, making them excellent teachers of self-awareness. By observing the animals’ reactions to their own behavior, students can learn to recognize their own emotions and how they impact others. This can help them regulate their own behavior and develop better self-awareness.

  1. Teaches Responsibility and Respect:

Animal encounters teach students to be responsible and respectful caretakers. They learn about the animals’ needs, habitats, and behaviors, and they are given the opportunity to practice taking care of them. This instills a sense of responsibility and respect for all living creatures, which translates into better behavior towards others and the environment.

  1. Boosts Confidence and Self-Esteem:

Interacting with animals can be a confidence-boosting experience for students. By having hands-on experiences with the animals, they are able to overcome fears, build trust, and develop a sense of pride and accomplishment. This can have a significant impact on their self-esteem, which can carry over into other areas of their lives.

  1. Enhances Learning Outcomes:

Animal encounters are a fun and engaging way to reinforce learning across multiple subjects, from science and biology to social studies and language arts. Students are more likely to retain information when it is taught in a hands-on, interactive manner, and animal encounters provide just that!


Incorporating animal encounters into your school’s SEL curriculum can have a positive impact on students’ social and emotional development. By promoting empathy, self-awareness, responsibility, confidence, and learning, animal encounters can create a more inclusive and supportive classroom environment. If you’re looking for a fun and educational way to enhance your school’s SEL program, consider bringing Once in a Wild’s animal ambassadors into the classroom!

For more information on how Once in a Wild’s animal encounters can support your school’s SEL program, visit our website or contact us to schedule a visit.