Simply put, humane education fosters empathy in individuals for all living beings on the earth. At PAWS, we offer a variety of programs that nurture the empathy inherent in every child. We teach them to appreciate, respect and help animals, whether companion, wild or farm.
Our programs include group and classroom visits, workshops at PAWS, and mentoring students working on special projects. Through these programs we inform young people about issues that animals face, and empower them to make a difference in their communities.
Research supports the value of humane education. A 1997 study by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found that over a 20-year period, a group of individuals who had abused animals as youths were five times more likely as the non-abusers to commit violent crimes, four times more likely to commit property crimes and three times more likely to have drug or disorderly conduct offenses. Read more about the connection between animal abuse and human violence.
PAWS is working hard to reverse statistics like these in our community, by nurturing the empathy inherent in every child so they will in turn, show compassion toward animals and each other.
Schools and community groups throughout the greater Seattle area have welcomed the PAWS Humane Education Program. Developed by a committee of Puget Sound educators, it is continually revised with the help of local teachers.
PAWS’ programs bring community leaders into the classroom, broaden career horizons for students and meet character education mandates and Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements. PAWS’ programs help Scout and group leaders in meeting badge requirements and introducing youth to charities and community services.
Kids Who Care is PAWS' primary humane education program. It is a six-week, in-depth course taught in elementary schools that covers a range of topics from positive, safe interactions with dogs and cats to developing a greater understanding of wildlife and farm animals. Learn more about PAWS’ Kids Who Care and other group and classroom programs.
There is a critical need for humane education in the greater Seattle area, and the PAWS Humane Education Program provides tangible benefits to the community. An opinion survey is administered to all children at the beginning and end of PAWS' most in-depth humane education program Kids Who Care.
The survey has two goals. The first one is to discover the current knowledge base and opinions on various animal-related issues, which helps in preparation of following classes. The second one is to provide an evaluation tool, measuring the success of the goals of the program. Current opinion surveys have revealed marked attitudinal changes in key areas.
"It is okay to keep dogs on chains all the time."
Pretest: 21% agree / Post-test: 5% agree
"Wild animals can be tamed into pets."
Pretest: 34% disagree / Post-test: 90% disagree
"Dogs and cats need to be able to come inside a house with people."
Pretest: 58% agree / Post-test: 72% agree
"Dogs and cats should be spayed and neutered."
Pretest: 14% agree / Post-test: 80% agree
Evaluation forms are also given to host teachers. Participating classroom teachers often give the workshops high marks for age-appropriateness, activities and speakers’ presentations. The following comments reflect the quality of PAWS' program:
Learn more about our current offerings.
Above: A PAWS Humane Educator teaches an elementary school class about basic pet care and safety.