HELPING TEACHERS INSPIRE COMPASSION
FOR ANIMALS, PEOPLE & THE ENVIRONMENT

Author Archives: Melissa Logan

Why Curiosity Matters

Curiosity is powerful. It encourages us to ask questions, seek answers, think critically, and find solutions to problems both big and small. It helps us to be open to others, build understanding and foster empathy – and it needs to be nurtured.  Astrophysicist and science educator, Neil deGrasse Tyson has lamented that “kids are born curious about the world. What adults primarily do in the presence of kids is unwittingly thwart [that] curiosity.”

However, curiosity is an essential part of learning. Research suggests that curiosity in a subject area positively correlates to retention of information. Teaching that promotes curiosity can help improve student success at meeting learning outcomes.

Our theme for the year Stay Curious focuses on sparking curiosity and wonder about our natural world including the animals in it. Sparking curiosity through animals is supported through the biophilia hypothesis.

This curious little kitten I was fostering was into everything!

Put forward by biologist E.O. Wilson, the biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans have an innate drive to connect with nature and other living things – a byproduct of human evolution. As such, children are born intrinsically curious about the natural world around them, including, and especially about animals. This makes animals a natural conduit for sparking curiosity that can be extended to others and the environment.

Current global challenges require that we seek innovative ways of doing things that respect the planet while promoting and improving the well-being of all living things. Young people, with their creativity, imagination and optimism have the greatest potential to create positive change – let’s not hold them back.

Summer Reads for Teachers

We usually highlight great animal-themed books for your students, but this list is just for you! The following suggested reads span fiction to non-fiction and are guaranteed to kindle your curiosity about animals and spark reflection about our relationship to them. Saving Manno by Spencer Sekyer (autobiographical, Canadian) Spencer Sekyer is a Sherwood Park teacher who…Continue Reading

Animals in the classroom: Responsibilities & Rewards

Mrs. Ainslie-O’Connor is a seasoned grade three teacher who has incorporated classroom animals in her teaching for about 10 years. I met with Mrs. Ainslie-O’Connor in her brightly lit grade three classroom in Spruce Grove and was introduced to some of her furry – and not so furry – friends.  She has a six-year old guinea…Continue Reading

The Rise of Alternatives

Technology is paving the way for advances in science and medicine, and providing opportunities for learning, through the use of alternatives. From Organ-on-a-Chip to a virtual dissection table, superior methods to the traditional use of animals for education and research and being created and implemented. In science classrooms, dissection has been a popular activity since…Continue Reading

November is family violence prevention month

Deliberate abuse of a pet is a form of family violence and identification and intervention leads to protecting both people and animals. There is a plethora of research that shows a definitive link between animal abuse and other forms of violence. Young people who witness or commit acts of cruelty to animals may disclose these…Continue Reading

Announcing the 2017 Humane Award Recipient!

The Alberta SPCA’s Humane Awards recognize Alberta teachers and students who inspire others to show compassion for animals, people and the environment through example and leadership. We are pleased to announce this year’s Humane Award recipient! The Animal Rescue Crew at F.R. Haythorne Junior High in Sherwood Park is working to enhance animal welfare in…Continue Reading

5 – Freedom to Express Normal Behavior

This week we will be discussing the last of the Five Freedoms: the freedom to express normal behaviour. This freedom is all about providing an animal with an environment that allows for behaviour that promotes their well-being. This is accomplished by providing the animal with sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of their own kind.…Continue Reading

4- Freedom from Fear and Distress

This week we will be discussing the fourth of the Five Freedoms: the freedom from fear and distress. This freedom is about providing animals with conditions and treatment that do not cause them to suffer mentally or physically. Read the following blog with your students to learn more! Have you ever heard strange noises at…Continue Reading

3- Freedom from Pain, Injury, and Disease

Welcome back to our Five Freedom series! This week we will be covering the third of the Five Freedoms: The Freedom from Pain, Injury, and Disease. This freedom is all about preventing health issues in domestic animals, and rapidly diagnosing and treating them when they do occur. Read the following blog with your students to…Continue Reading

Blog posts represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Alberta SPCA.