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WHEN VIEWING ON A MOBILE DEVICE -- DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM An Introduction to Animals and Children  What’s in This Book My hope in writing this book is to provide you with a bit of background. Why are animals so interesting and captivating for children, anyway? Why do children want animals in their lives? Perhaps more importantly, why do children need animals? What is significant about the perceptions and un- derstandings that children today hold about animals? How does this impact their relationships with animals and with each other? And for the adult who wants to help strengthen the connections between children and animals, what are some ways to go about doing that? What brings an experience with animals beyond a one-​time trip to a petting zoo that is quickly forgotten and turns it into a meaningful, authentic encounter that leaves a lasting positive impression on children? Chapter 2 outlines some of the basic qualities shared by all animals that make them so appealing to children. Animals are special and important to so many of us, and I illustrate some of the many things that animals can inspire in us: feelings, actions, and beliefs that I believe ultimately make us better people. Chapter 3 provides a look at the inner lives of young children and the de- velopment of certain key values, morals, and models for framing the world. The chapter also provides some examples of how animals impact children’s development and growth: cognitive, social-​emotional, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. The evidence is compelling that children-​animal interactions provide clear benefits for children who have animals in their lives. Chapter 4 provides an overview of animals in children’s lives. Where do we find them? What kind of experiences are children having with animals? What factors influence the perceptions children form when it comes to animals? How do children demonstrate their understanding? From family pets and wild animals, to toys and stuffed animals, to clothing and media, animals are a central part of every child’s landscape. This chapter explores some implications of children’s experiences. The concept of “authentic experiences” with animals is introduced in chapter 5. Authentic experiences are hands-​on, supportive of children’s understanding and learning, and respectful to both animals and people. The chapter also introduces some teachers and programs that have done amazing work to create deep, meaningful connections between children and animals. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 3