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Why I Got Involved With TeachKind

The following is a guest post by animal welfare reporter and activist Deborah Kay Steinken.

California’s educational code states, “Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of the pupils … kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures.” Eleven states with similar laws are Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin.

“Humane education” is the term for any curriculum that teaches students to care for animals in their homes and communities. The goal is to create a culture of empathy and caring by stimulating students’ moral development and sense of responsibility, therefore creating a more compassionate and responsible society.

TeachKind, the humane education division of PETA, helps to promote these objectives by offering schools free books, lesson plans, videos, posters, and other resources. While students learn math, reading, and writing, they are simultaneously learning about compassion, empathy, and respect toward all animals. Teaching children that they can help animals and make a difference in the world gives them a strong sense of competency and compassion.

If a student speaks about animal abuse at home, teachers must immediately report it to authorities in order to prevent the possibility that other children or family members will be abused. The state of California recently added the humane society, animal control officers, and veterinarians to the list of professionals that are bound by law to report possible child abuse, and the California legislature is now considering a bill that would list animal abusers on an online registry similar to those that currently list sex offenders and arsonists.

By teaching children to foster kindness, respect, and empathy for both human and non-human animals, students are learning the true value of all living things. This is why I’m volunteering to deliver TeachKind materials to schools in my area.

Are you involved in promoting humane education in schools? Let me know in the comments section below!

Commenting is closed.
  • lovilychula says:

    how can i do this in mexico if you can send me some information please thanks

  • Cory Martinez says:

    I would love to get involved with TeachKind! How can I?

  • Kathleen says:

    Your article is a great way to spread the word and help. Thanks for your work!

  • susan fleisher says:

    I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I have been working for a foundation for a number of years which teaches children in the school system about being kind to animals. It is called the Kindness Program and the teachers usually target schools with large immigrant populations who may be unaware of the way in which people in Canada/N. America are expected to treat their domestic friends.I go to each classroom with my dog and do a 45 minute presentation about care, animal shelters, neuteuring/spaying and general empathy training about animals. Our organization has been around for 35 years. It is well received by the schools and is a valuable tool for students who may not come from countries that understand that our domestic and wild animal friends deserve the same respect and love that all living creatures deserve.

  • Bob says:

    Deb that was a well written article and how to respect but the only thing is ,is that the parents have to teach respect from an early age and first they have to respect Mom and Dad as the lord says and also then once you respect people then the hard one is to tackle the respecting of pets and animals of all sorts. It would be great if this world could be perfect but we are always fighting against each other. I want you to know I respect you kindness toward animals and lso human beings That You from the bottom of my heart for getting the word out, God bless you and Thank You.

  • sunnyca1972 says:

    This is good. It is soooo good.

  • Ashley-P says:

    Hi Cecilia, Thanks for your comment! Unfortunately, we’re unable to ship to Sweden. However, we do have many printable resources available online. You can access them here:

  • Cecilia Gummeson says:


    I would like to know if you can ship educational materials to Sweden? I am a biology teacher and am always looking for lessons that stimulate empathy toward animals. I used to teach in WA state where I lived for 30 years, but came back to Sweden for a while.

    Please, let me know if you ship to Sweden.

    Be safe,

  • Remy Balonon says:

    Children should be educated at a young age to learn that animals should be treated with respect. They should beware that there are those who abuse animals often go on to abuse humans. Thank you for your dedicated work.

  • Teresa Ingersoll says:

    Deborah, you are right on with what you say in this article!!!! I personally feel it is sad that we have to “teach” someone to show respect for another living creature but, apparently it must be done. ALL living creatures DESERVE to live WITHOUT the fear of being taunted, teased, tortured, and killed!!!! THANKS Deborah for a GREAT article and for TeachKind!!!!!!!!!!!