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Akron Zoo Animals Are Teaching Canton City Students About Intelligence, Literacy

a photo of a zoo animal
The zoo will take animals into Canton City Schools preschool classrooms.

The Akron Zoo is partnering with Canton City School District preschools through a first-of-its-kind program focused on developing social emotional intelligence and literacy. Zoo staff members visit preschool classrooms with animals and read books to the students. Zoo spokesperson Elena Bell says bringing animals into classrooms helps students reflect on how they relate to other people.

“A lot of times the same feelings and reactions that humans have in relation to animals is the same way they should be relating to people in everyday interactions, but it’s easier to have those feelings towards the animals.”

Students will take a field trip to the Akron Zoo at the end of the school year. Canton City Schools reached out to the Zoo with the idea for the collaboration. The program is funded by a gift from the PNC Foundation.