Bringing Soft Side to Every Classroom

Picture of young girl holding a Softies poster
  •  Sande Riesett
  •  July 15, 2017
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If you’re a teacher, humane educator or work with kids in any capacity, we will gladly send you Soft Side posters free-of-charge. Our Softies are the kind of role models that are desperately needed these days and we believe that by sharing their stories, we not only create a better world for animals, but also build better adults. To request a package, email: gro.edistfosruoywohsnull@ofni.

Over the past year, we have collaborated with the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work (IHAC). Humane education experts at IHAC have crafted lesson plans called “Cool to be Kind” specifically for use with our campaign. The curriculum may be downloaded here for upper elementary school students (grades 3-6) or here for middle and high school students.

If time is limited, use our video Show Your Soft Side Like The Tough Guys Do as a discussion starter in class. You can also download sample discussion questions (PDF) for grades K-12.

Benefits:  While short term interventions may not be effective for changing behavior, initial testing shows that the Cool to be Kind lesson plan is an effective humane education tool.  Thanks to a grant from the Latham Foundation for the Promotion of Humane Education, graduate students at IHAC recently piloted the Cool to be Kind curriculum for upper elementary school students in two Denver classrooms. Their qualitative and quantitative data analysis showed that the curriculum was effective for promoting critical thinking skills, as well as developing an understanding and capacity for empathy.  Moreover, one student disclosed animal abuse was occurring in the home, demonstrating the value of the lesson as a violence reporting and prevention tool.  Additionally, one teacher noted that the use of celebrities opened the eyes of the students in recognizing that cruelty is never acceptable, suggesting that partnering with celebrities may enhance the efficacy of a humane education program, particularly when presented by a multi-disciplinary team.

We are deeply indebted to IHAC for their collaboration and expertise and to the Latham Foundation for support of this program.