Humane Education Impact in Classrooms

Our Mission

To develop a generation of compassionate youth who create positive change for animals, people, and the natural world.

Our Services

In a society facing global issues like interpersonal violence, pollution, institutionalized animal cruelty, and poverty, humane education can have a broad and lasting impact by addressing a range of challenges simultaneously.

HEART (Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers) was incorporated in November of 2001 and operates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity.

HEART’s services are specially designed to provide a combined focus on social justice, animal protection, and environmental preservation. Our direct services to educators and students, as well as our advocacy efforts, enable us to significantly impact the way young people think about their responsibility to one another, animals, and the natural world. By linking our age-appropriate instructional program to our service-based learning program, we give students the tools to make positive changes. We are the only full-service provider of humane education in the New York City, Chicago, and Indianapolis areas, and our reach extends worldwide.

Our services are free for public schools, school districts, and non-profit agencies, and include:

Humane Living Program: An integrated character and humane education instructional program for students of all ages.

Teacher Training: Professional workshops and classroom presentations that introduce humane and character education to teachers and provide them with the tools to implement this instruction in daily classroom lessons.

Humane Education Consulting: Individual guidance and instruction to administrators and teachers on how humane education can be infused into school curricula.

Advocacy: Raising awareness about and securing support for humane education in the educational and governmental sectors.

We also offer an extensive array of free materials on our website, including humane education resource guides and digital classroom tools for teachers, teacher training webinars, educational videos, a listing of humane education books for children and young adults, an online game for kids, and a bibliography of humane education journal and magazine articles.

Our Approach

HEART’s approach to humane education is to take advantage of youth’s natural love for and fascination with animals to develop compassion toward not only animals, but also people and the environment. We focus on the interconnections between all living beings and the natural world, and address the root causes of harm. By linking the community issues in which schools are already engaged to the needs of others, we start from the schools’ existing priorities and invite them to broaden their circles of compassion. HEART especially demonstrates how meaningful connections to different animal issues enhance social-emotional educational content and expand the impact of students’ direct actions in both their local and wider communities.

Our lessons and resources help children develop an empathetic and compassionate approach to understanding and communicating with others – an essential skill in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world. We want to help students think critically about the impact of their actions on the whole so they make just and humane choices.

HEART’s goal is to help humane education become integrated into regular classroom curricula. To achieve that goal, we offer our lessons across multiple teaching platforms and align lessons to meet core learning standards across a range of academic subjects, so lessons can be seamlessly utilized by teachers.  Humane education should be part of all children’s education, and HEART is determined to help make that a reality.

Our Programs

  • Create engaged students who are respectful and compassionate citizens of the greater community
  • Foster a sense of responsibility for children to act upon their personal beliefs
  • Cultivate empathy for animals and, as a result, decrease animal abuse in our society
  • Encourage students to strive for a sustainable society while protecting natural resources and the environment
  • Offer effective ways to reduce and prevent violence in school and at home

Who We Serve

HEART offers its services to students of all ages, ethnicities, races, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic statuses as well as educators, administrators, and community leaders in the greater New York City, Chicago, and Indianapolis areas. HEART envisions replicating its programs throughout the nation.

Why We Teach Humane Education

There is a growing movement among educators and administrators to include character and humane education in their school curricula as a way to teach students respect, responsibility, and empathy, and to help them develop critical thinking and decision-making skills based on compassion, tolerance, and integrity. HEART believes that a student’s educational experience should not be limited to traditional teachings, but must also include enrichment instruction to motivate active learning and critical thinking. Children deserve to be provided with comprehensive instruction that will make them not only better students, but also better members of society. Character and humane education programs can positively impact student attitudes, behavior, attendance, and academic achievement.

The following claims were made about the impact of humane and character education by the US National Parent-Teacher Association Congress in 1993: “Children trained to extend justice, kindness, and mercy to animals become more just, kind, and considerate in their relations to one another. Character training along these lines in youths will result in men and women of broader sympathies; more humane, more law-abiding, in every respect more valuable citizens. Humane education is the teaching in schools and colleges of the nation the principles of justice, goodwill, and humanity toward all life. The cultivation of the spirit of kindness to animals is but the starting point toward that larger humanity that includes one’s fellow of every race and clime. A generation of people trained in these principles will solve their international difficulties as neighbours, and not as enemies.”

Find out more about why humane education matters.