kids

8 Videos Exploring Empathy

by Marsha Rakestraw Empathy is a key component of humane education, and something our society is increasingly recognizing as essential to our well-being and that of the world. Studies show that we’re innately wired to be empathetic. When we’re able to put ourselves in the place of another, and to imagine the kind of world…

Read more »

13 Children’s Picture Books Whose Characters Have Special Needs

Occasionally the media focuses on those with particular challenges, such as animals with special needs and people whose likenesses – in the form of unique mannequins – shed light on the meaning of “perfect.” But the truth is, positive depictions in the public sphere of people and nonhuman animals who have special needs are not…

Read more »
books

The Joy of Generosity: 19 Children’s Picture Books

by Marsha Rakestraw Every holiday season there’s a bizarre conflicting focus on acquiring and sharing, getting and giving. Help bring the joy of generosity into clearer focus for younger kids with the help of these 19 children’s picture books. 1. Shoebox Sam by Mary Brigid Barrett 2011. Grades PreK-2. Delia and Jessie spend Saturdays with…

Read more »
homelessness

14 Children’s Picture Books About Homelessness

by Marsha Rakestraw People and animals without homes surround us year-round, but their presence seems more palpable in the winter months. As rates of poverty and homelessness grow, so do children’s questions about those who don’t have a home. Teacher Mary Cowhey, author of Black Ants and Buddhists, said, “One might argue that the realities…

Read more »
an androgynous model posing with a tree

5 Short Videos for Teaching Students About What It Means to Be Transgender

by Marsha Rakestraw In a recent memo, the Trump administration has argued for US government agencies to adopt an “explicit and uniform definition” of gender that would “define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals a person is born with.” As the New York Times reports, this proposed definition would…

Read more »
bags

Humane Education and Math: Reusable vs. Plastic Bags

by Institute for Humane Education As part of our educator professional development, we encourage teachers to start infusing humane education into their classrooms by finding small ways to tweak their lessons. After learning more about the impact of plastic bags, high school math teacher Tristan Bates decided to whip up a fun little activity for his…

Read more »
humane education

3 Sources for Funding Your Humane Education Project

by Marsha Rakestraw Many a great changemaking idea has been stifled by the challenge of finding funding. In the past, options were limited and often a bit complicated. But with the exponential growth of our digital world, it’s becoming a bit easier to gain traction in financing smaller projects. Here are three sources to help…

Read more »
Two children sitting at a table reading picture books and surrounded by bins and shelves of children's books

19 Lists of Children’s Picture Books for Your Humane Education Classroom

by Marsha Rakestraw Children’s books are a terrific tool for sharing positive values, teaching students (in age-appropriate ways) about global ethical issues, and inspiring them to take positive action. They are a powerful part of any classroom and curriculum. Here’s a round-up of 19 of our lists of suggested children’s picture books on a variety…

Read more »
school garden

8 Resources for Greening Your Schoolyard

by Marsha Rakestraw You only have to watch kids in a garden or park to know that we humans have a special connection with the natural world. Studies have shown that we benefit physically, emotionally, and mentally (including academically) from our interactions with nature. Yet except for a hemmed-in tree here or there, or a…

Read more »
plastic pollution

I Taught Kindergarteners About Plastic Pollution, and They Are Eager to Be Part of the Solution

by Elizabeth O. Crawford, Ph.D. During Earth Week 2018, I was a guest presenter to kindergarteners attending Island Montessori School (IMS) located in the beautiful, coastal town of Wilmington, North Carolina. As teacher educators often remark, classroom visits rejuvenate and inspire our work preparing the next generation of educators. When we spend time with children…

Read more »