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What is humane education?
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, on-site programs 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.
The value of humane education
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.
The PAWS education program
Schools and community groups throughout the greater Seattle area have welcomed the PAWS 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 science standards.
PAWS’ programs help Scout and group leaders in meeting badge requirements and introducing youth to charities and community services through on-site programs.
Kids Who Care is PAWS' unique 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.
The success of the PAWS Kids Who Care education program
There is a critical need for humane education in the greater Seattle area, and the PAWS Kids Who Care 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.
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.
Some significant pre-to-post test changes were:
"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:
- “I feel that this program does a lot of teaching about animals to kids in a fun and memorable way. The information is something that they can use and apply in real life. Every PAWS educator I have met has been caring and obviously loves kids and animals. I hope we can do this program indefinitely.”
- "Thanks so much for the fourth-grade PAWS workshops. I appreciated that the topics were informative, educational and of high-interest. The kids really enjoyed having you in the class and they learned a lot. I hope that we can repeat this program next year for the new fourth-graders. Thanks!"
- "The kids in this class have limited experiences with animals, so these classes have been very important, especially the lessons about safety with animals. Thank you."