For the past year, COVID-19 has challenged children's social and emotional well-being on a daily basis. During this time of unprecedented uncertainty and loss, students need all the support they can get.
Children feel a natural affinity towards animals, and in response, animals often have a calming effect on children. Studies have shown that including animal-based social and emotional learning in classrooms reduces incidences of classroom conflict and bullying.In short, teaching children to be kind to animals helps them be more empathetic and compassionate towards people and more calm in the face of uncertainty.
North Shore Animal League America (NSALA) - the world's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization - has developed the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum, an innovative PreK-Grade 12 program that builds on children's affinity for animals and highlights the unique characteristics and desirability of Mutt-i-grees®, or shelter pets. The goal of the program is to enable children to grow up to be confident and caring. It has been implemented in thousands of schools across the country and Canada.
NSALA conducted outcome studies with more than 800 students in schools in rural and low-income urban communities. Comparing classrooms using the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum with non-curriculum classrooms, we found:
Significantly higher understanding of shelter dogs and dog behavior among teachers and students in classrooms using the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum;
Significantly higher levels of empathy and pro-social behaviors among students; and
Significantly higher levels of positive school climate (linked to bullying prevention) and parent involvement.
The evidence is clear - humane education helps kids become more confident and caring. Sign if you support making shelter pets a part of school curriculum!