This year, our PK and JK friends have taken a keen interest in animals, which is playing out in a number of different ways in each of the classrooms. Fregly, the school’s skinny pig, has been a consistent topic of discussion, as students pass him in the hall, and stop to visit regularly, asking questions like,”What does he eat?” and “What kind of animal is he?”Recently, Richland’s resident Fregly expert and Grade 6 student, M.C., stopped by the PK classroom with his un-furry friend to give the PKs and JKs a tutorial about how to care for Fregly. The PK and JK will be taking on this most important duty, while the junior grades embark on their annual trip to Camp Couchiching. M.C. demonstrated how to hold and feed Fregly, as well as how to change his cage. Students asked and answered questions and were very insightful about his care and well-being! Research shares that, “Having a pet is usually a rite of childhood. Whether it is a hermit crab or gold fish, a dog, cat or horse, children enjoy the companionship offered by animals. Did you know, however, that not only can pets be a source of warm, fuzzy entertainment, but they can offer several developmental benefits to children as well? A child’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development can all be encouraged by interaction with a pet.”As we share in the care of Fregly for the three days next week, we will be devising and designing a “How to Take Care of a Skinny Pig” ‘manual’, like a “Message book”, shared the JK children. We thought that this would be a handy tool for others to use, when they need to learn about Fregly and take care of him. We will be documenting the process, adding photos taken by the children and us, as well as drawings to this collaborative ‘handbook’ about our time with Fregly.