Humane education is an approach to teaching that fosters empathy and compassion for animals, people and the environment – every living thing. Humane education incorporates students’ relationships with other species and the earth we share, thus providing a unique point of reference for reflection on one’s place in the world.
The idea that encouraging kindness to animals will result in more kindness to people has been the underlying philosophy of the humane education movement for close to 150 years. It has long been recognized by SPCAs and Humane Societies across the continent, many of which originally had the mandate of protecting both animals and children.
Teachers can easily practice humane education by incorporating animal welfare examples, stories and lessons within the existing curriculum, and modeling humane behaviours towards all living things. Research has demonstrated that humane education can improve attitudes towards animals, bolster empathy and positively impact prosocial behaviour.
This website provides some ideas and activities to help. The lessons are connected to Alberta Education’s Program of Studies, but they can also be used by teachers in other jurisdictions.
We hope that as you explore this site you’ll find interesting and useful ideas to incorporate humane education into your teaching.