Teaching Compassion for Animals—and Each Other

Many of us have fond memories of teachers who helped us tap into our innate compassion and see other animals as sentient beings who deserve care and respect. Maybe a kind teacher gently captured a spider and placed them on the sill outside the classroom window or carefully lifted a worm from the sidewalk after a rain and laid them in nearby grass. As adults, it’s hard for us not to be grateful for the impact these teachers had on our lives.

We can also be thankful for the legions of teachers who inspire young people to love and respect animals today. Here’s an easy and effective way to show your appreciation and support for those educators who promote animal advocacy to your children and grandchildren: Introduce them to the wealth of humane education resources—available at no cost to teachers—on PETA’s TeachKind website.

TeachKind is PETA’s humane education division, which is staffed by educators who are committed to helping children strengthen their connections with other animals. Its website offers an extensive collection of free lesson plans and activities, dozens of ideas to make the classroom more animal-friendly, tips on how to choose humane school activities, and inspiring stories of students and educators who promote compassion for animals. Teachers can also use the website to order free student-friendly materials for their classrooms, request a guest speaker to give a virtual presentation on animal rights, and sign up for TeachKind’s “Lesson of the Week” e-mail updates.

Two new curriculum programs developed for elementary and secondary schools are of special note. The Challenging Assumptions program, for grades 6 through 12, explores speciesism, racism, and other forms of discrimination. The Share the World program, for grades K through 5, focuses on the value of extending the Golden Rule to all species and teaches children how similar humans are to all other animals—large and small—with whom we share the world. With schools around the country facing an epidemic of violence and bullying, it’s never been more important to teach students the value of compassion and empathy as they interact with each other and the animals around them.

Please share this terrific resource with the caring teachers in your life!