When our children first enter school they are ready to move from make believe to the real world. It’s one of the major steps forward in their lives. Entering kindergarten is a first impression of education and how it makes sense in their lives. They are ready to do good things, important things and they expect this. We need to build on their excitement and give them opportunity to play a real role in the adult world. Kindergarten teachers identified animals as the topic area for this age group and created Caring for Animals. If we began with just this one service component, we would have the first foundational building block for a nationally coordinated service curriculum.
Kindergarten teachers identified animals as the starting point for a community leadership role.
Kindergarteners have a signature project above in Caring for Animals. Created by teachers and our local SPCA it incorporates service learning and curricular components. A dialogue can be created among kindergarteners nationwide using this model. One important point to remember is that the signature service project is not a teaching unit, rather a year-long service engagement with the non-profit partner organization. It is a constant part of the kindergarten classroom experience.
The project possibilities below were created by people who were moved to create solutions for more needs in their community or in their individual lives. As older students or adult community members choose and engage in project replication or development, it is important to remember that Kindergarten is the class representing animals in our service work. Any additional projects need to be shared with the kindergarteners. This is how a community checklist develops. This is how we begin to coordinate at the community and also the national level. This is how we validate the role our youth play in service work topics K – 6th grade. This is how we never forget that this is what they do. This is how they learn about their world and their place in it.
So when you choose one of these projects, let the kindergarten class in your community know and give them updates. If your local school is not involved in this work, ask them why not! This is another way to get ourselves on the same page.
Animal Topic Areas:
- Children’s Hospital
- Nursing Homes
- Equine Assisted
- At-risk Youth
- No Kill
- Beds and Blankets
- Preparing for Adoption
- Prison Programs
“Therapy animals can provide physical, psychological, and emotional benefits to those they interact with, typically in facility settings such as healthcare, assisted living, and schools. While most frequently dogs, therapy animals can include other domesticated species such as cats, equines, and rabbits, to name a few. These pets are evaluated on their ability to safely interact with a wide range of populations, and their handlers are trained in best practices to ensure effective interactions that support animal welfare. Therapy animal handlers may volunteer their time to visit with their animals in the community, or they may be practitioners who utilize the power of the human-animal bond in professional settings.” Pet Partners
Equine Assisted Therapies
Urban Animal Control
Crafting Beds and Blankets
Preparing for Adoption
Reading to shy dogs
What would happen if every school district adopted an endangered species? What if school districts combined efforts where necessary and coordinated their efforts with organizations researching these needs to understand how to work together until health was re-established and attention could be turned to another species?