By Mickey Kudia
HEART is thrilled to announce the release of our latest curriculum guide, Exploring the Lives of Farm Animals: Lessons that Teach Compassion. This guide is the first of its kind to focus on teaching students in grades K-3 about farm animals, and is designed to open up the hearts and minds of young people through a variety of lessons and activities.
To create this groundbreaking resource, we partnered with America’s first shelter for farm animals, Farm Sanctuary. Throughout the guide, students can get to know the animals who have been rescued by this sanctuary and learn about their unique personalities. These stories will help young people build empathy as they connect with animals and learn to see the world through their eyes.
By focusing on empathy and compassion for farm animals, this guide closely aligns with Social and Emotional Learning Core Competencies such as “social awareness” and “responsible decision-making.” Learning about the needs and emotions of farm animals is also an engaging way to help students better understand their own needs and emotions — an important aspect of the other core competencies.
The guide promotes a multimodal approach to learning, a strategy exemplified in the “Learning Stations” section featuring hands-on activities such as building a pretend farm sanctuary using blocks or playdough and a mud painting activity through which students learn how pigs use mud to keep their skin cool.
The guide also encourages students to make choices that help farm animals in the “Taking Action” section. Through these lessons, students learn about ways they can improve the lives of farm animals by drawing educational posters, creating enrichment toys for chickens, and making wholesome plant-based meals.
There is also a helpful list of animal-friendly book recommendations from the educational staff at HEART and Farm Sanctuary. These books provide inspiring stories about farm animals that young people are sure to enjoy.
By providing students with this kind of education at a young age, they develop the knowledge and attitudes that allow them to grow into adults who will be more mindful and compassionate about farm animal welfare issues and their own personal food choices.
If you’d like to teach these lessons to your children or students, the guide is available for free download. Please leave a comment with your feedback about the guide…we’d love to hear from you!