Animals have long been embraced by educators as a valuable resource in enriching children’s learning about nature, ecology and the world around us. In fact, animal encounters are such an important component of early education that they are included in the National Quality Standard (NQS), which is the national benchmark for early childhood education and care in Australia.

However, it’s more than just about furry cuddles and experiencing the different ways that animals eat, move, sound, look and feel. Animal interactions have been shown to reduce stress, encourage empathy and improve children’s social interactions.

Here at Treehouse Manly Early Learning, we not only have some of our own resident pets, we host regular Bring Your Own Pet days, organise animal based AventureTime excursions, and hold incursions, where experts bring a range of native Australian animals into the centre for the children to see, touch and appreciate.