PHS Education Coordinator, Kitty Yanko, partnered with the second grade classes at Hines School in Peoria to offer a 5 week program on character development to help instill life-long values and grow their hearts for important lessons on responsible pet care, kind treatment of all living creatures, humane care of animals and their habitats. Students also learned good decision making, and how to be safe around animals. Each child was given a stuffed dog or cat to take home and be responsible for. Each animal came with its own name, background information, and medical history. Additionally, students kept daily care logs in journals and completed lessons on pet care.
The children have whole-heartedly embraced the program. Several pets now have their own outfits, blankets, and accessories. The class created a “doggie daycare” location in the classroom for their pets to stay while the kids were in school. Each time Kitty visits the class, she is bombarded with stories from the children about their interaction with their pet. Kitty has heard about horror stories involving pets being left on the school bus to fun times as pets tag along on errands and family outings.
The Kindhearted Kids program is designed to promote empathy and kindness toward animals and help families understand the importance of responsible care of pets and making the right decision when it comes to adopting a new family member! The Peoria Humane Society was proud to be a part of this innovative way to help children learn the importance of caring for pets. This program was made possible by a grant from the Wanda Muntwyler Foundation.
The teacher took some time to have the kids respond to the program in their own words:
“I have learned that we need to be kind to our pets. I have shown my pet a lot of love because it has feelings too. I show my dog love by taking it outside and playing with him. I also have bought him some dog clothes to keep him warm in cold weather.” ~Victoria Garcia
“I learned that owning a pet is a lot of responsibility. You have to make sure you don't lose your pet and keep it on a leash. You also need to have identification tags to help your dog or cat if it ever gets lost. I also learned that you need to have money to own a pet. It costs a lot to take care of your pet the right way.” ~ Jaida Adams
“Owning a pet is a lot of work and you have to remember to care for your pet. I had to remember to feed it, take it outside, play with my pet & take it for a walk. Then I had to do my homework and get ready to go to bed. I hope everyone whoever owns a pet is a responsible pet owner. I don't want to see animals get hurt.” ~ Tobin Robinson
“I learned from Miss Kitty that if you own a pet, you need to have them spayed or neutered. This needs to be done because we have too many pets in the world and not enough homes for the animals. I really enjoyed taking care of my pet named Aussie. I look forward to playing with him for a long time.” ~ Amelia Pastucha
Peoria Humane Society would like to thank the teachers for encouraging their students and taking part in this program. Thank you to: Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Zeiters, Mrs. Dudley, and Mrs. Ochs from Hines Primary School in Peoria.