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Humane Education—Teaching Kindness

South Pacific County Humane Society wants to help educators incorporate humane education into the classroom.

Lesson plans from the links below are aligned to national education standards, address the pillars of character, and consider the needs of a wide range of student abilities and learning styles.

National Humane Education Society


A good humane education lesson plan is simple to understand. It has a clear goal and objectives to help the leader know when the goal of the lesson has been met. Every National Humane Education Society lesson plan includes a material list and step-by-step instructions on how to complete the activity from start to finish. Many of the lesson plans will also help youth build skills in reading comprehension, basic math, art, and science. If you are a teacher, parent, scout leader, camp counselor, or any professional who works with youth — we encourage you to try these free lesson plans.

A Parked Car Is An Oven
Students use a line graph in this activity that teaches the dangers of leaving an animal in a parked car.

Adoptable Artwork
Students create color portraits of adoptable dogs and cats at local animal shelters to display in the school or in their community.

Animal Career Dress Up
Students wear the uniforms of various animal professionals to learn how veterinarians, animal control officers, and others help animals for their jobs.

Dogs And Cats Of The World
Students research global geography and world history to learn about the origins of their favorite dog and cat breeds.

Build a Bird Nest
Students learn the science behind nesting birds and use craft supplies to construct their own bird nests.

Paper Plate Habitat
Students learn the four components of a habitat by building a habitat for a chosen wild animal species.

Humane Skits
Students perform skits to learn and teach others about what to do in common situations involving companion animals.

Race for Safety
Students learn about some of the human foods and medicines that are toxic to animals, and what to do if they think a pet has ingested a toxin.

A fun physical game to help students master animal vocabulary.

Humane Quotes
This activity uses quotes from famous people as a means to prompt discussion about compassion.

How To Strike A Match
A mix-and-match card game in which students match fictional shelter dogs with compatible owners.

Dog Bite Prevention Role-Play
Students role-play what to do in common situations involving nervous or protective dogs.

Institute for Humane Education


This one-week humane education immersion is a highly recommended elective course (3 credits) for M.Ed., M.A. and doctoral students. Humane Education Residency takes place at IHE’s campus, situated on 28 oceanfront acres overlooking the mountains of Acadia National Park. This energizing, hands-on experience is a very popular part of the program, offering students an opportunity to practice humane education with fellow students and faculty while developing lifelong relationships.  MORE

Institute for Humane Education


American Humane
Ways to get involved, including mini-grants for youth groups

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
History of humane education, lesson plans, tip sheets

Best Friends Animal Society
Guidelines and classroom resources

Humane Education Programs
Standard and customized lesson plans for K through 12

Institute for Humane Education
Humane education certificate program, workshops, classroom and youth group activities, resources

The National Humane Education Society
Presentations to the public, educational materials

Progressive Animal Welfare Society
Seattle area classroom workshops

Humane Education—Teaching Kindness



Lessons and Activities for Pre-K to 12 Students

Book Lists | Videos | Webinars

The high-quality lessons and activities at HEART can offer some much-needed social-emotional support to your Pre-K to 12 students, promoting mindfulness, self-calming techniques, empathy, and connection with all living beings.

Animals have the unique power to open children’s hearts and serve as a source of comfort in difficult circumstances. Resources are easily adapted for use by teachers and parents to enrich remote learning and home schooling.

Check out their special collection of free activities to nurture compassion and calm while learning at home during the coronavirus outbreak:
Home Learning Collection

HEART’s FREE humane education resource guides provide everything you need to teach students ages 3-18 to be caring and compassionate toward animals, people, and our planet, while meeting academic standards.

More than 200 lessons, student activities, and reproducible worksheets

Aligned to Common Core State Standards, include STEM connections, and address ISTE (International Standards of Technology and Engineering) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Blend easily into several different subject areas to enhance the content you already teach

Kindness for All

This seven-lesson curriculum for three-to-five-year-olds aims to inspire children to act with kindness toward all living beings and the natural world.  Developed in partnership with Volunteers of America Los Angeles (VOALA) and Social Compassion, the curriculum was piloted by 100 Head Start teachers in California.

Humane Ed Guide

Grades K to 12
This animal-themed humane education resource guide, created in collaboration with the ASPCA and IFAW, contains 40 lessons and activities for students in grades K-12. They can be easily integrated into the classroom curriculum, as well as informal education programs in communities, libraries and summer camps.

 Justice for All

Elementary & Secondary Guides
Created in partnership with the Peace Learning Center, these teaching resources help educate youth for social responsibility. With nearly 50 thematic lessons and activities, these resources help students learn crucial information, think critically, and develop solutions for many of the modern issues facing our world.