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The Washington Animal Rescue League’s Humane Education Program is an interactive, classroom-based program targeting elementary and middle-school aged children. Staff and volunteers teach children about companion animals and their welfare, encouraging them to make kind, compassionate and responsible decisions. While learning about animals, students also develop their reading and writing skills and gain a greater sense of self. The program’s ultimate goal is to foster the development of a strong sense of empathy, justice and respect for self and for all living beings.
Children in the Humane Education Program are taught about the Washington Animal Rescue League, the needs it addresses, and the animals it helps. During field trips to the League, students witness this work firsthand and meet the animals and the people who care for them.
Many participants in the program have witnessed an animal being mistreated or have come into contact with a violent dog. In order to teach them that animals can be gentle companions, they are given opportunities to interact with animals in the shelter and Medical Center. In addition, volunteers bring their dogs to the schools to meet the children. This provides opportunities for students to develop safe friendships with dogs in a familiar, comfortable setting.
Students are also encouraged build their own reading skills—and comfort with animals—by reading to dogs in the shelter and in the classroom.
Throughout the program, students share thought provoking picture books, poetry and essays that feature companion animals. They are encouraged to explore their feelings about themselves and animals through journaling and creative writing, art projects and community service activities.
Goals and Outcomes
As a result of participating in the program, graduates of the Humane
Education Program will:
- Develop a greater sense of self confidence;
- Gain confidence in taking action that results in getting help for those who cannot speak for themselves;
- Experience an environment that encourages kindness, compassion, and cooperation;
- Strengthen reading skills by reading to nonjudgmental partners—dogs;
- Become more proficient and creative writers.
You can also find suggestions of items to donate to the Humane Education Program on our wish list.
The Humane Education program is sponsored by Friendship Hospital for Animals.