Educating, engaging and empowering the next generation about the humane treatment and well-being of animals is the focus of the Animal Smart™ program of the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society. AnimalSmart™ presentations are free and are available to school and community groups in our animal centre communities. To date, there have been 38 presentations delivered to 1,140 students. Forty-one additional presentations are currently booked.
Who are the Animal Smart™ presentations for?
The presentations are a series of lessons geared to students in Grades 1 through Grade 8, to encourage and inspire connection to animals and the environment. The lessons also promote and encourage working with fellow classmates and family and the wider global community.
The presentations for primary levels are 30 minutes long and 60 minutes for junior and intermediate students. For primary students (Grades 1-3), the presentation is `What if Animals Ruled the World-A Happy Blue Planet for All`. Students learn about physical care of an animal, such as brushing teeth to keep them healthy, as well as learning empathy and how to be kind to animals through activities and stories.
The junior level (Grades 4–6) presentation is “Tail Wagging Happy-The Importance of Caring for Animal’s Well-Being.” Students learn about different animals and the care they require to be healthy and happy. In shared discussions, they will look at some animal-focused scenarios and brainstorm solutions.
Intermediate students (Grades 7-8) examine how they can make positive changes to the lives of animals in need. “Being the Change-Caring for Animals and Their Well-Being” is the theme of the presentation. They discuss how they can help animal well-being by becoming active members of their community.
The benefits of the AnimalSmart™ presentations
Each presentation includes information on humane education and has some student-driven activities and discussions. Volunteers, many who were former educators, lead the presentations.
Benefits of the program include:
- Ignites empathy in students
- Gives students a sense of responsibility to care for animals
- Educates students on how to properly care for companion animals
- Provides students an idea of the kind of commitment it takes to have a companion animal
“We have found teachers truly value having us in their classrooms and request future presentations,” explains Nina Alexander, Humane Education Manager at the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society.
“My students enjoyed the presentation and learned a lot. The presenter engaged the students with pictures, videos, reflection questions, and case studies,” reports one teacher.
They continue, “The AnimalSmart™ programming provides a great sense of value for the students through hands-on learning and direct engagement through social-emotional learning skills. Students connect to our materials with a deeper sense of learning as they develop a sense of empathy and responsibility to be the voices of our animals. Students are instantly won over by seeing adorable animals while hearing about stories on how the Ontario SPCA has fostered these animals back to help and found their forever homes.”
The goal of the AnimalSmart™ program is to educate students in the best, most humane way on how to care for animals. We strive to encourage empathy to appreciate companion animals and all animals in general. AnimalSmart™ engages the upcoming generation to become advocates for animals, one classroom at a time.
If you’re interested in joining our AnimalSmart™ team by becoming a presenter, visit animalsmart.ca