SPCA’s Kids’ Portal is a fun, engaging and interactive learning tool for students, developed to support, extend and consolidate students’ learning about animal welfare, responsible animal guardianship and the role SPCA plays in the community. Designed to be used alongside SPCA’s Teachers’ Portal, the Kids’ Portal caters for different learning styles and levels, making it the ideal supporting resource for inquiry based learning. You can learn more about SPCA's Education Programme below:
Aotearoa New Zealand has the second highest companion animal ownership rate in the world, with 74% of children in New Zealand aged nine to seventeen living with at least one companion animal.* However, every year SPCA continues to care for over 34,000 animals in New Zealand who are sick, injured, abused or abandoned, and investigate thousands of animal welfare complaints.
SPCA believes animal welfare education is an essential tool for the early promotion of positive animal welfare, fostering of greater empathy and compassion, as well as playing an important role in breaking the cycle of animal cruelty in Aotearoa. This is why SPCA developed, and continue to develop, an education programme for young learners.
Given the correlation between human violence and animal cruelty, SPCA recognises that inspiring a kinder generation through animal welfare education will not only improve the world for animals but for humans as well. It’s a win for all!
SPCA’s education strategy is based on evidence from international research in the field of animal welfare education. This research highlights that the most effective time to provide education of this type is between 7 and 12 years of age, therefore SPCA’s initial focus was to develop a primary and intermediate school education programme.
The programme has been uniquely designed by New Zealand classroom teachers, for classroom teachers, and aligns to the New Zealand Curriculum values, key competencies and learning areas, making animal welfare a real-life, meaningful context to apply and learn through, rather than a stand-alone, forgettable one-off session.
SPCA were fortunate to receive ongoing advice and guidance from Mary Chamberlain – Evaluation Associates Consultant and contract an independent research company – New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) to evaluate the entire education programme, to ensure all developments were evidence-based.
SPCA recognises the importance of teaching children to love and respect animals from a young age. This is why SPCA extended their education programme to include resources for early learning.
SPCA’s Education Programme consists of three interlinked components that encourage teachers, children, parents and the community to think, learn and act together to achieve positive, empathetic and compassionate outcomes for human and non-human members of society.
The first component is SPCA’s Teachers’ Portal:www.spca.nz/teachers
Free online resources designed for early childhood educators and classroom teachers of Years 1-9 that provide real-life, meaningful contexts for teaching and learning.
The second component is SPCA’s Kids’ Portal: www.spca.nz/kids
An interactive and engaging learning tool that children can use to research and find all the information they need when being taught by a classroom teacher using the SPCA Teachers’ Portal resources. Content is delivered in a range of formats, which we hope will engage all levels and types of learners.
On the portal, children can:
The third component is SPCA’s Instructional Readers: www.spca.nz/storybooks
Available in five different languages and levelled in alignment with the Ministry of Education’s colour wheel, these books can be seamlessly integrated into school reader collections and classroom literacy programmes. The objective of each original story is to teach core animal care and wellbeing lessons through engaging, emotive and thought-provoking stories, whilst increasing children’s reading mileage and supporting the development of their reading skills and strategies.
It is our hope that by working together with schools and families, we can raise a generation of children who have learned empathy and compassion, a generation who encourage the humane treatment of all animals, giving them the love and respect they deserve and preventing cruelty being inflicted upon them.
Given the correlation between human violence and animal cruelty, we are confident that developing the hearts and minds of our future generations in this way will not only improve the world for animals, but for humans as well.