Resources for Educators

Developing Sensitivity

Educators and parents can help children understand, respect, and be concerned for all living things.  Since educators and parents are also role models to children, they have critical roles in helping children achieve these goals.  As children are engaged in humane education learning activities, educators and parents should be aware of how they may be communicating personal attitudes toward pets and animals.  For instance:

  • Making unqualified remarks about dislikes or fears of a specific animal may a) belittle that animal's value to the child, and b) contradict attempts to communicate a positive attitude about the inherent value of all living things.

  • By condoning delays in meeting the needs of the family or classroom pet, no matter how valid the excuse, demonstrates that it is acceptable behavior to avoid or postpone responsibilities.

  • Casually giving the classroom pet away at the end of the academic year may illustrate that pets are disposable commodities that can be tossed away when no longer needed. Such an act can contradict attempts to encourage responsible pet ownership for the pet's lifetime.

  • By assessing personal attitudes and behaviors towards pets and other creatures, and by teaching with compassion, educators and parents will be helping children develop positive viewpoints.