SPCA’s vision is to provide engaging educational resources for teaching and learning about animals and animal welfare.

The resources are designed to encourage exploration and development of knowledge, skills, and understandings needed to create feelings of empathy, compassion, respect and justice for the lives of all living things.

SPCA’s Education Programme is designed to help kaiako integrate animal welfare education into their early learning setting or classroom programme, and to support parents and whānau to continue this learning within the home.

The resources offer tools and strategies to enhance existing teaching and learning, and achieve the principles, strands and goals of Te Whāriki and fulfil the New Zealand Curriculum achievement objectives in all learning areas. This approach is consistent with the vision of Te Whāriki and the New Zealand Curriculum of young people as competent, creative, energetic, enterprising young people who are healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge they are active participants in and contribute to the future wellbeing of Aotearoa (not passive recipients of knowledge).

 

Animal welfare education is about the fostering of respect, understanding, compassion and responsibility towards animals. It is an exploration of how we share the world with other living beings and the responsibilities we have in ensuring their wellbeing.

Given the prevalence of violence in society today, it is more crucial than ever to instil compassion, empathy and tolerance in young people. Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between violent acts towards animals and people. Additionally, research in animal welfare education suggests that children’s compassion toward animals is related to their empathy toward humans.

SPCA’s Education Programme promotes essential character-building qualities such as empathy, kindness, respect for others and personal responsibility as well as engaging learners in core curriculum learning through a real-life meaningful context. As children develop empathy (the ability to assume the feelings and perspective of other humans and animals), they begin to understand concepts such as respect, cooperation, sharing, fairness and patience.

SPCA’s education materials were designed to integrate into the New Zealand Curriculum by experienced, New Zealand trained teachers.The resources focus on a variety of animal welfare concepts and provide teachers with the tools to incorporate these topics into their daily classroom programme or early learning setting.

The learning experiences allow learners to gain knowledge and understanding of animals through diverse teaching and learning experiences including provocations and interactive, project based learning. Great importance is placed on the inquiry process and critical thinking as well as developing leadership skills to put compassion into action. SPCA’s Resources for Schools have been piloted by classroom teachers throughout Auckland and evaluated by New Zealand Council for Educational Research. This approach has enabled us to make informed, evidence based decisions throughout our programme’s development.

 

The ultimate learning experience occurs when home and school work in partnership - when teaching and learning is supported, reinforced and encouraged at home, connections are more easily made and positive changes can occur. Our SPCA’s Kids Portal is a wonderful resource for parents and whānau to be able to support their children’s learning journey.