Humane education encompasses a wide range of topics and ideas as diverse as anti-bullying, environmental conservation, refugee rights and gender equality.
However, the main focus of ThinkKind’s resources is on the human relationship with other animals, particularly companion animals, native wildlife and animals used in exploitative industries.
There are 3 major reasons for our focus:
1. It is simple for children to understand
Animal rights and welfare is a social justice issue that young children can easily relate to and understand. Many children begin their first years of school already caring for or living with an animal companion at home, and most have already developed a very keen interest and understanding about other animals and how their basic needs are similar to our own.
2. Children enjoy learning about animals and how to care for them
Children have a natural love and fascination for animals. From their favourite television programs to the hardcover picture books that fill their shelves, writers and educators have long used animals and animal characteristics to capture the imagination and engagement of young learners everywhere.
Children enjoy hearing stories about animals, watching them in nature, and learning about how they can develop a stronger and more respectful relationship with them.
3. It targets a variety of humane education outcomes
Animal ethics relates to a variety of positive skills and values targeted by humane education as a whole. These include things like consumer awareness, recognising media bias, critical thinking, sustainable and peaceful living and active citizenship. Importantly, the overwhelming majority of animal protection issues can be resolved by making conscious changes in our own actions and behaviour.
By teaching children how their actions can influence the lives and wellbeing of others, especially the most vulnerable and voiceless, we’re already taking a positive step in developing the crucial skills and values that underpin the purpose of humane education.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi