Animals and children can be a powerful combination!
Animals can teach children about compassion, empathy,
sensitivity and a myriad of "life lessons"
resulting in children of stronger character, ethics
In this light, it is with great pleasure that we bring
our humane education lessons to your classroom.
is humane education? At its most basic level, humane
education is teaching children to care for the animals
that share our world - both in our homes and in our
communities. It is about fostering attitudes of respect,
responsibility and kindness - for animals and people
alike! Its fundamental purpose is to make the world
a better place for all living creatures.
Humane education will be an important motivational
force to help you meet national, state and local student
performance standards. Animals can hold the interest
of your students. For instance, a math lesson will take
on a tangible relevance when you put into the context
of discussing pet overpopulation in your community.
Problem solving, computation and probability are among
the mathematical skills that will be enhanced by using
animals as a topic. Language arts, reading and literature
come alive when animal stories and discussions ensue.
Map reading and geography become easier when discussing
the natural habitat of creatures in that area. Computer
skills will be enhanced by using animal-themed software
and visiting animal web sites.
Sometimes lessons about pets and proper pet care may
lead to students' disclosures about neglect and abuse
of animals in their home. Recent studies have indicated
that in homes where there is abuse and neglect of animals,
it is very likely that child neglect or abuse might
be happening as well. Statements from students such
as "My dad kicks my dog when he comes near"
or "My dog is chained outside and we don't feed
him often" are insights into how life might be
in that home. Please don't discount these comments.
When taught kind and considerate care standards, it
might become apparent to some students that the treatment
given to their pet might be inadequate or just cruel.
Talk to the student and share your concerns with the
school counselor or psychologist. You and the counselor
can report these findings to your local humane organization.
This can be done anonymously and with no threat to yourself
or the student.
Because animal cruelty is often a catalyst for child
abuse, your local Division of Family Services office
should be alerted about the cruelty. Paying close attention
to revelations of animal abuse or neglect might help
identify children at risk of abuse as well.
These lesson plans are brought to your classroom through
an unprecedented partnership, Operation Pet Partners. This partnership unites the region's four leading animal
care organizations in the Pet Partner Coalition (PPC).
The partners, including the Animal Protective Association
of Missouri, St. Louis City Animal Center, St. Louis
County Animal Control and the Humane Society of Missouri,
are taking a long-term multifaceted approach to the
pet overpopulation problem through this plan. Operation
Pet Partners encompasses several key elements, including
spaying and neutering, expanded education efforts and
ambitious adoption initiatives. Together, we can all
make a difference in the lives of people and pets!
Good luck with your humane education adventure. Explore
the difference humane education can make in your classroom
and the lives of your students!
Suzanne Gassner, Director of Education, Humane Society
JoEllyn Klepacki, Assistant Director of Education, Humane Society of
Michelle Kodner, Director of Education, Animal Protective
Association of MO.