Animals spark a natural curiosity within children. Students will explore animal issues in the context of social justice, the ecosystem, media literacy, art and math by researching the cost of pets, examining the impact of cats on the ecosystem, and taking on advocacy projects for animals. Teachers will take part in lessons that have helped students apply critical thinking to issues and develop empathy, all while gaining a better understanding of animals’ needs. Topics are real and relevant, which makes it an appealing topic for inquiry projects.
Paula Neuman taught in the Southeast Kootney, Kootenay Lake, Langley and Rocky Mountain school districts in B.C. and in the Regina School District in Saskatchewan. She always shared her life with animals and saw the positive changes bringing her dog into the classroom had on her students. As the Humane Education Manager for the BC SPCA, she is able to use her passion for education and animals in developing curriculum units for the classroom and has witnessed empathy, critical thinking and social responsibility flowing naturally from the animal connection.
Allison Simpson has been a BC certified teacher since 2008. She has worked with students from the age of 5 to 18, teaching everything from Kindergarten to History 12, and specialized in reading, writing and math intervention for students with learning difficulties. Allison was inspired to include animals in education and become a Humane Educator with the BC SPCA after her experience of being a pet “mom”. By encouraging students to look at the world from an animal’s perspective, she has witnessed a positive change in attitudes, empathy, and understanding towards people, animals and nature.