Early Childhood is that magical time between birth and age eight when the world begins to make sense and the helpless infant grows into an autonomous person in their own right. Stop and think for a moment how much learning and growing takes place in those few short years.
When I was teaching preschool, I frequently brought in wild visitors for the children to observe. The secretary at the school got in the habit of checking out whatever I was carrying when I walked in the door. If it was a large jar or aquarium or other critter container her reaction was quite startling
If the adults are able to care for the pets and are able to protect them from the sometimes over exuberance of preschool children, pets in the classroom or at home are very valuable teaching tools.
(A note: I use the male pronoun in this article to allow the narrative to flow more easily. It is not meant as a bias toward or against any other gender.)
Centers are important for many reasons but the foremost among them is the important work of play. Children learn about the world and are able to process that information by playing. They learn early concepts of math, reading, writing and social roles by playing. Play is our work in preschool.