Our activities here at Radcliffe Animal Centre are being developed as part of a wider community project to support animal welfare education and literacy across Nottinghamshire.
Children feel much more at ease reading to rabbits and other animals. There is a purpose to their reading other than being judged on how well they are doing. Animals don’t mind if a word is missed out or even a page. This is about feeling comfortable enough to try; and because the children are enthusiastic and out of the class room they are also happy to learn about how to care for animals properly.
Activities like our Book Bunny Project, not only help children with their core skills but in turn we are able to show them why it is much better to keep rabbits in a spacious environment rather than a tiny hutch and it enables us to talk about all the needs of particular animals. Reading helps with bonding as a rabbit can get used to the sound of a child’s voice before handling begins. Rabbits are prey animals and get very stressed by children frequently trying to pick them up. Reading to them allows for a gradual building of trust as a rabbit can investigate and explore a child in its own time. After a while we find many of our rabbits will hop on a lap or stretch up on their back legs to sniff and investigate a child. It really is lovely to watch their interaction.
Local children have been busy improving their literacy skills by reading stories to rabbits and other resident animals. As we prepare to open our new Rehoming and Education centre very soon. We have been working with children and young people across Nottinghamshire to raise awareness of animal welfare issues.