Everyone has Feelings !

“...the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?”  

-  Jeremy Bentham 

A core tenet of humane education is fostering empathy and compassion for all living beings. To achieve this, it is critical to teach youth how to accurately identify and describe their own feelings as well as the feelings of others.

When teaching about understanding the feelings of other species, and the way animals express their feelings through body language, our “Emotion Wheel” handout, may be a helpful tool to reach your objectives. First, provide youth with the opportunity to review the wheel and select any words they are unfamiliar with. Provide them with the definitions handout so that they can learn the meaning of those feelings. Consider creating scenarios and ask them to describe how they think they would feel in that situation, being as specific as possible about the feeling using the wheel.

As youth develop a larger vocabulary for describing feelings, it will increase their knowledge and understanding of feelings. This knowledge will increase their ability to recognize feelings within themselves and better equip them to practice empathy for others and increase their ability to identify the feelings of other people and other species.

Featured Lesson 

Animal Communication Ages 8-10

Help children learn how wild animals  - including dolphins, bears and elephants - communicate their feelings. Worksheets provide fill-in-the-blank stories to encourage critical thinking about how different animals would feel in various situations.

Featured Lesson

Communication & Empathy Ages 5-8

Engaging in critical discussion, role-play and observation activities, students will develop the social skill of empathy by learning how to identify
nonverbal cues of dog communication and how to appreciate an animal’s perspective.

Fun Craft

Modelling Clay Animals 
Ages 5-10+

A fun and meaningful way to end a program on animal feelings and evaluate learning. Students create clay models of animals expressing a specific feeling, then share them with the rest of the group, who guess what each clay animal is feeling.

Book List

Picture Book
Ages 5-10+

This heart-warming collection of true animal stories, written by David L. Rice and illustrated by Trudy Calvery, beautifully highlights the range of feelings that animals can express including: romantic love, vengefulness, compassion, deceitfulness, and joy.

Related Article

As humane educators we recognize the importance to teaching young people about the feelings of other species, but it may not be a priority in all educational settings. However, “[s]ocial and emotional learning (SEL) has become one of the biggest trends in education... When students learn about their emotions and social skills, it not only helps them become more pro-social and healthier individuals, but also improves their academic performance.”

Learn more about the connection between SEL and teaching about animals in our blog, Including Animals Into Social Emotional Learning, so that you can encourage schools to embrace your programs by demonstrating to them how your program can help them to address their SEL objectives.

Help us improve the Network & meet your needs!

It will take less than a minute to answer 2 quick questions. Thank you!

This Month's
Featured Member


Founded in 1989, Animal Place’s California animal shelters fills a much-needed niche of farm animal rescue, sanctuary, education and adoption. Animal Place is one of the largest and oldest animal sanctuaries in the nation.

About the HEART Network

  •  A free network of support for your community outrea​​​​ch and education programs
  •  Providing animal shelters, sanctuaries and rescue organizations with effective and engaging tools, tips and activities that help deliver high-quality humane education for all ages

Feedback form link  and text with directions and request for members to share feedback with HEART - eg. how they used Network resources.

Copyright 2018 by HEART - Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers