As a new school year begins, the BC SPCA is encouraging educators to incorporate animal welfare learning into classroom and extra-curricular activities.
“The BC SPCA offers a wide range of resources for teachers and students,” says Paula Neuman, humane education manager for the BC SPCA. “We’re committed to educating youth about the humane treatment of animals, building their empathy skills and empowering them to make a difference through school clubs, curriculum units and classroom presentations.”
BC SPCA school clubs join students who are passionate about making the world a better place for animals. “Clubs are all about engaging and growing young people’s desire to learn about and help animals,” says Neuman.
“Guided by a club supervisor, members decide together which issues they want to tackle, and the kinds of events or projects they want to work on, so it really puts the decision-making in the students’ hands and empowers them to work towards goals they’ve set for themselves and become leaders on the issues that they care about.”
The BC SPCA school club manual is available free for download. New clubs are asked contact Paula Neuman to register and make arrangements for a BC SPCA guest speaker to visit their school for a club kick-off.
Curriculum units and school presentations
Teachers can incorporate animal welfare learning into their lesson plans by using BC SPCA-developed curriculum units or inviting a volunteer humane educator into the classroom for a presentation.
“Our curriculum units are designed with a mind to specific grade levels and B.C. Ministry of Education prescribed learning outcomes in a variety of subjects,” says Neuman. “We have units focusing on empathy, pet care, farm animals, dog bite prevention and advocacy.
“The great thing about these units is that they not only introduce kids to different animal issues, but they also give teachers fresh and unique ways to engage students in required subjects like English, mathematics, social studies, art, science and social justice.”
Educators can visit the BC SPCA website to request curriculum units and arrange for a school presentation.
Regardless of the format used for animal welfare learning at school, Neuman says that critical thinking about the way we treat animals and, by extension, the way we conduct ourselves in all aspects of our lives, is the key to well-rounded humane education. “It is about learning to consistently address the question, “How does my behaviour affect the rest of the world, and how can I be the change I want to see?””
For more information on all BC SPCA school programs, please visit www.spca.bc.ca/school.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.