Humane Rescue Alliance

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Humane Education Program Catalog

Humane Rescue Alliance

School Programs, Shelter Tours, and Camps

Educators understand that social and emotional competence is directly tied to academic achievement. What better way to encourage social and emotional competence than through promoting responsible animal care, be it taking care of a beloved companion animal, calling Animal Control to report an animal in danger, or making a case for stronger animal protection legislation. Schools are charged with integrating anti-bullying programming into their curriculum and humane education is often employed to fill that requirement.

In addition to offering in-class programming and onsite visits, the Humane Rescue Alliance’s humane education program encourages teachers to promote kindness to animals during extension lessons and provide independent reading opportunities that highlight humane themes.   

To find out more about humane education opportunities at the Humane Rescue Alliance contact [email protected].

School Programs

Classroom visits:

Classroom visits by a representative of HRA are the heart of the humane education program. Lesson plans are designed to promote kindness, compassion, and social action and are geared toward fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students.

The teacher and HRA agree on a pre-determined number of visits that are spread out over a semester or an entire academic year. Most programs include eight, 45-50 minute visits, plus a field trip to one of HRA’s adoption centers. Some classroom programs are designed to fit a six meeting block, which includes four classroom visits, a shelter tour, and a follow-up classroom visit. 

Humane Rescue Alliance Humane Education Campers

An eight week program, as an example, would include the following activities:

  • Introduction to the role of the animal shelter in the community — PowerPoint presentation, discussion, writing prompt
  • A discussion centering on how to report and prevent animal abuse and neglect — related book reading, discussion, presentation about HRA’s Humane Law Enforcement division, writing prompt
  • An in-depth exploration of the cost associated with life-time of companion animal care — PowerPoint presentation, math activity determining and adding costs, writing prompt
  • Preparing for a trip to the shelter — PowerPoint presentation, writing prompt
  • Shelter tour* – visits to adoptable animal areas and, if accessible, the medical center
  • Post-shelter visit — writing prompts center on past shelter visit, ultimately resulting in a well-constructed thank you note to shelter staff
  • A guest visit to the classroom — depending on availability, the guest could be an Animal Control Officer, Humane Law Enforcement Officer, an adopter and dog, or other spokespersons with a connection to animal welfare
  • Final visit  review and program evaluation — including next steps that students can take to support and advocate for animals in their community

Additional visits may include literary discussions centered on grade appropriate books; an animal poetry reading/writing celebration in April to celebrate National Poetry Month; and/or a series of role plays that allows students to examine their feelings and actions in different situations involving animal care.

*School groups that visit HRA are responsible for their own transportation.

When teachers commit to a humane education program of eight visits or more, a small in-class, grade level appropriate mini-library of humane themed books is provided by the Humane Rescue Alliance.

Career Days:

Animal Control Officers (ACO’s) make exciting visitors. We are able to accommodate a limited number of requests to participate in schools’ Career Day activities. If a school has a playground or parking lot where other community helpers are stationed -- firefighter and EMT’s with trucks and police officer with a car --  the ACO’s visit may include an introduction to the truck and its many functions. If the Officer is stationed inside the building, the Officer brings tools of the trade -- catch pole, gloves, net, flashlight, bite stick, and phone. Animal Control Officer Career Day visits are appropriate for fourth grade and up.

HRA Animal Control Officer at Humane Education Class

Kindergarten visits:

Staying Safe and Making Friends With Dogs –A 30 minute introduction to dogs during a one-time classroom visit. Young learners will enjoy Don’t Lick the Dog, Making Friends with Dogs by Wendy Wahman and then practice what they’ve just learned.

Other programming is available on request.

Shelter Tours

School groups who do not participate in classroom visits:

Teachers whose classes are not participating in the classroom-based program arrange for a class field trip to the shelter. These tours are scheduled during the school day after 11:30 a.m. and are generally one hour in length; the visit includes a discussion about the organization and a brief tour of the animal areas. These tours are designed for fourth grade and above and are limited to one class at a time.

Non-school groups:

Tours are offered Sunday mornings (11:00 a.m.) and led by volunteers. Tours emphasize safety rules for visitors and animals, provide a brief overview of the organization, a tour of the animal areas, and possibly a visit to the adjoining medical center. On occasion, these small group tours (12 – 15 participants) can be offered after school hours during the week. These visits are generally scheduled as part of a culminating event focusing on the care of companion animals. Groups are encouraged to collect toys/treats for shelter animals or raise money for the animals and bring their donations to the shelter at the time of their tour.

Humane Rescue Alliance Humane Education Class

Book Groups

Small groups – 5 to 6 – fourth, fifth or sixth grade students meet with an HRA representative weekly during the school day (usually during language arts or library time). The chapter books have been selected for their themes pertaining to making the world a better place for animals and the people who love them. The group reads and discusses several chapters each week, after which the students respond to a journal prompt related to the reading. The discussion and writing prompts encourage critical thinking and allow for discussion pertaining to helping animals, taking responsibility for others, the power of one and empathy.

Book group commitment -- depending on the length of the book and the length of time of the reading session is generally 10-16 weeks. The Humane Rescue Alliance provides the books and journals for the participants. The teacher, counselor or librarian commits to the time necessary to read the book – start to finish – during consecutive meetings.

Reading at Humane Rescue Alliance Humane Education Camp

Summer Camp

The week-long sessions target children ages 9–13-years-old or rising fourth through eighth graders. Camps focus on companion animal care, social activism, and introduction to new and exciting animal topics. Veterinary medicine is always a highlight. Offerings vary slightly from year to year, but all HRA shelter camps introduce animal enthusiasts to the role of the shelter in the community, animal adoptions, and supporting animals though the efforts of HRA. Hands-on activities with animals range from behavior and training workshops, to meet and greets with adoptable animals and special animal visitors. 

View Summer Camp Dates and Registration Details

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