Could your school have the country’s ‘Most Compassionate Class’?
An RSPCA educational programme which encourages children to be compassionate to animals is launching for the new school year.
The animal charity’s PSHE-accredited Compassionate Class programme teaches KS2 children what it means to be compassionate, understand the needs of different types of animals and work collaboratively to develop empathy skills for their school lives and beyond.
Children will become advocates for animal welfare and explore a range of topics including:
Robot Companion – Design a robot companion for your pet
Adopt A Human – What sort of owner would a pet want to live with?
When I Rule The World – Design your own rules for animal welfare
Mini Me – Imagine and design a world where humans are the size of insects
A Wetter World – How could humans and animals exist underwater?
Britain’s Best Farmer – Find the best farmer in the country
Mindful Shopping – Find out about products that animals provide for us
Philosophical Humans – Question what informs our views on animal welfare
Dave Allen, Head of Prevention and Education at the RSPCA, said: “Compassionate Class is all about developing compassion and empathy through the lens of animal welfare and the programme encourages children to think about the needs of animals and help them to realise that animals have feelings and are sentient.
“The activities teach children about the five animal welfare needs, while the resources get them talking and debating about the importance of animals and creates an awareness of how we should respect them and each other. In turn, we hope this will help to create a kinder society in the future.”
Last year - the first full year Compassionate Class ran nationally - 1,061 schools participated. A survey carried out afterwards showed that 100% of schools who gave feedback would take part again.
In addition, this year the resources have been accredited by the PSHE Association, which said:
"These innovative new PSHE lessons from the RSPCA explore the importance of animal welfare in a creative and imaginative way, using activities that promote compassion and help pupils to consider how they can make the world a better place for animals. The materials are designed to support the development of pupils’ abilities to empathise, make decisions and think critically.”
All classes that take part in Compassionate Class are encouraged to join in the RSPCA’s nationwide competition to be crowned the RSPCA’s Most Compassionate Class 2020. The winners and runners-up are given the unique opportunity of going on a behind-the-scenes tour at an RSPCA centre.
Last year’s winners, Year 3 pupils at Cardiff-based Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof produced a creative animation to promote animal welfare.
Teacher Nia Norman said: “We were thrilled to hear that we had won. We didn’t really enter the competition with a view to winning but to be able to complete the project with the children so that they'd have an end product of which they would be really proud.
“The children were so excited when they found out; we hope that they'll always remember that they're national winners.”
The 2020 competition runs from 25 November to 23 March.
The resources are designed to fit into the national curriculum covering PSHE in England and the PSE curriculum in Wales, plus they support Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education (SMSC) and other core subjects.
The hope is that Compassionate Class will reach 160,000 children per year with an aim to reach 1.6 million children by 2030, as part of the RSPCA’s groundbreaking programme Generation Kind.
You can download the Scene Setter Activity and start the Compassionate Class journey this September! A Facebook group has been set up for teachers to share updates about using the programme. To join, click here.