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Volume 4, Number 4 - October 2016

Supporting children’s social and emotional development through pets in the ECE context

This article explores the concept and benefits of the relationships forged between children and animals. It builds on Edward Wilson’s biophillia theory, in which he considers children to be born “hardwired” with a natural predisposition and attraction towards animals (Melson, 2001). Animals can offer children the feeling of security and comfort, providing a friend to bond with in the early childhood context, enabling children to feel secure and confident to explore their early childhood environment (Frieson, 2010; Zilcha-Milano, Mikulincer & Shaver, 2011). In particular, this article explores how animals can be used by teachers as a pedagogical tool to support children’s learning and development, especially children’s social and emotional development.


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