For Educators

Educational Activity | Other Ideas | For Older Kids | Links

Humane Education is the term for any curriculum that teaches students to care for the animals in their homes and communities. The goal of humane education is to create a culture of empathy and caring by stimulating students' moral development and sense of responsibility. The end goal of humane education is to create a more compassionate and responsible society.

Humane education introduces children to the emotions of animals and links this knowledge to a wider understanding of environmental issues and ecosystems. It is about fostering kindness, respect and empathy for both human and nonhuman animals.

Humane education teaches people how to accept and fulfill their responsibility to companion animals. It teaches people to understand the consequences of irresponsible behavior and finally, humane education encourages the value of all living things.

You could use the following humane education activities in association with:

National Dog Week (fourth week of September)
Valentines Day (February 14, with a message of "love your dog")
Earth Day and Earth Week (third week in April)
Be Kind to Animals Week (first week in May)
National Dog Bite Prevention Week (third week in May)

Educational Activities (for younger students)

(NOTE: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the PDF files on this page. You can download this software free.)

Students will compare the life of a chained dog to that of a happy family pet:

    Share these six pages of color photos with the students. You can print them onto transparency paper for easy classroom viewing.

    Ask the students these questions about each of the photos. The students will use analytical thinking when examining the photographs and answering the questions, which will lead them to a better understanding of what life is like for a chained and neglected dog.

Students will write an ending to this two-page story by Debra White. The story is about a cat, Harriet, who moves to a new house and is surprised to find a dog, Joey, chained in the yard next door. Can Harriet help free Joey?
This would be a great activity to use in an Essay Contest.

Other Ideas

    Use some of the information on this website, including the Chained Dog's Poem or Donovan's Story, to educate students about chaining. Ask students to complete a creative writing exercise about life for a captive animal (chained dog, zoo animal, factory farm animals, circus animals). Students can write a "first person" account of what it would be like to live that animal's life and to see through that animal's eyes.

    Have students investigate an animal rights/welfare issue and write facts and their opinion about it.

For Older Students

American Humane Association has some excellent humane education ideas. I particularly like pages two and three of this worksheet, which asks students to write about what kindness means and write about the meaning of quotes such as, "The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress may be judged by the way its animals are treated.--Gandhi" This exercise also asks students to consider the circle of compassion.

Teach Kind has some good activities and essay ideas for middle school students.

The book Nobody's Pets by Debra White is a moving chapter book about some adventuresome shelter animals. It is a also a story about friendship, hope and determination. If you mention this site when you order, will receive a portion of the proceeds.

Students can visit the Humane Teen website to learn more about animal welfare issues and find out what other teenagers are doing to help animals.

The Dumb Friends League of Denver, Colorado has a list of downloadable lesson plans for older students that can be tailored to your own community.

Teenagers can get a free subscription to the Fund for Animals' Animal Free Press, which features celebrity interviews and articles on animal issues. Posters and comic books are also available free.

Humane Education Links

American Humane Association offers excellent Be Kind to Animals and Be Kind to Animals...and People, Too! units for K-12 students. All materials are available for download, including a Humane Education Pledge Form. The curriculum is easy for first-time humane educators to use. Please take advantage of these great ideas!

Share The World offers excellent reproducible activities and a free video geared to grades 3-5. You can request a free humane education kit to be mailed to you.

National Association for Humane and Environmental Education offers a Humane Teen website and publishes a wonderful, award-winning newsletter called Kind News. For just $30.00 a year a classroom will receive 32 issues each month and a Teachers Guide. Sponsor a classroom today!

Teach Kind offers lesson plans and videos on many animal welfare issues.

PETAKids is a website for children, where kids can subscribe for the free magazine GRRR! GRRR! is a cool, colorful magazine with lots of celeb interviews. You can also download back issues.

Janie's Coloring Hats is a fun activity where kids color black and white animal drawings that are then made into hats.

British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers units on bite prevention, "kindness counts" and empathy, rabbits and guinea pigs.

Canadian Federation of Humane Societies publishes a newsletter called The Humane Educator, and you can read many wonderful articles from back issues on the site. CFHS also publishes a newsletter for kids and has an online Just For Kids section with great articles such as "Harry Potter and the Owls."

The National Humane Education Society will mail you a humane education packet including lesson plans, a Teacher's Guide, tips on connecting with schools, and interactive ways to present humane ed. They will also visit classrooms free in New York, DC, and California. NHES also has a For Kids site with activities, games, scout badge info, and more.

Dumb Friends League of Denver, Colorado has a wide range of lesson plans for all ages.

The Fund for Animals offers free subscriptions to Animal Crusaders, a quarterly newsletter, and a 50-page teaching unit Dog and Cat Overpopulation 101. You can also download back issues. Visit the kids' page for coloring books.

The Latham Foundation offers humane education publications and videos.

The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a Learning to Care catalog offering videos, books, resource kits, handouts, and all kinds of other materials.

The International Institute for Humane Education offers a distance learning master's degree in Humane Education, along with a Humane Education Certification Program.