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humane education


To start, here’s how two prominent humane educators describe humane education:


“[It] is preventative medicine to a world out of balance. It challenges all the social ills we face, from the exploitation of other species and the planet itself, to poverty and war, to prejudice and greed. The seeds we sow…are the seeds of peace, kindness, sustainability, respect and compassion, and from them a more humane world will spring.”

–Zoe Weil, co-founder & president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE).


“It teaches relevant knowledge, skills, and commitment to live ethically, sustainably, and peaceably. It does this by infusing the curricula at all levels of education with meaningful information, inspiration, and tools for creating a safe and humane world for all.”  –Dr. David Selby, founding director of Sustainability Frontiers.


So, humane education guides us toward a life where kindness and generosity is a natural habit, always respecting and protecting ourselves, other people, all forms of life and the natural world. Sounds nice, huh? That’s the point!


The best part is that humane education is a dual-purpose device. Firstly, it’s used to enlighten and advise. Secondly, it’s used to motivate and inspire. The consequence of humane education is knowledgeable and aware members of society who understand and appreciate their personal responsibilities and are passionate and propelled to affect change.

Our Program

The Windsor/Essex County Humane Society consistently strives to be a positive community influence. We’re excited to bring Windsor and the surrounding area an inclusive humane education program that is curriculum-linked, values-based and character-building. Students (and teachers!) are privileged with countless opportunities for growth, both intellectually and emotionally. Considering pressing challenges on the community and global scale, our elementary school lessons and high school presentations succeed at bringing significant human, animal and environmental issues to light and providing the essential tools to discover solutions. We encourage you to read our Philosophy of Humane Education.


Here are some effects of experiencing humane education:

  • Increase self-esteem & sense of responsibility

  • Develop character

  • Promote critical thinking

  • Expand general & global awareness

  • Enhance empathic development & emotional intelligence (EI)

  • Build aptitude for solution-based problem solving

  • Strengthen appreciation of interconnectivity between ourselves & other people, animals & nature

  • Foster an attitude of compassion & respect

  • Educate & encourage students to live a more humane life

“… [My] grandson has been bullying his classmates and friends for several years…His family, professionals and even [I] have tried to make him see his ways and instruct him that his behaviour was unacceptable. However, Mr. Palombo’s presentation…changed my grandson in ways I cannot explain. He seems happier and not so angry…He has rediscovered himself and wants to work with animals…this program…has made an enormous impact in my family…”



Please take a moment to review goals and curriculum links for every K-8 lesson, as well as a completed feedback form. As always, presentations are free!


Bite Prevention & Safe Playing

  • This lesson is designed to educate students on how to be confident and safe around dogs and other companion animals. Through pictures, children will become familiar with understanding and identifying a variety of canine facial expressions, body language signals and potentially unsafe situations. Children learn and practice how to safely meet a dog and what to do if they feel threatened. Follow-up material is provided.

Grade 1

Bite Prevention & Safe Playing

  • This lesson reinforces the idea of knowledge, confidence and safety when it comes to canine facial expressions and body language. We review potentially unsafe circumstances and how to act appropriately. Students discuss and practice how to safely approach a dog and how to behave if they feel threatened. Follow-up material is provided.

Grade 2

Companion Animals

  • Students inspect the factors that keep people and animals happy and healthy. We consider information to know before choosing a companion animal and what the many guardian responsibilities are. Caring for people, animals and the environment is also examined. Bite prevention is also discussed. Follow-up material is provided.

Grade 3

Animals, Nature and Us

  • Students are introduced to the issue of our disposable society and connections to animal abandonment are formed. The difference between companion animals and wild animals is explored, as is the question of what people need to know before deciding to have an animal friend in their lives, e.g., animal needs and guardian responsibilities. Bite prevention is discussed. Follow-up material is provided.

Grade 4

Animals All Around

  • The issue of overpopulation is brought to light and an explanation on how to solve it through spaying and neutering is involved. Reasons why people abandon or surrender their animal companions, why to adopt an animal from a shelter and facts about the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society are considered in detail. Follow-up material is provided.

Grade 5

Animal Shelters

  • This lesson owns the purpose of giving students an in-depth look at the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society. Students will learn the purpose our animal shelter serves in their community and how important volunteerism is for our non-government organization. Overpopulation and spaying/neutering is fully discussed. Follow-up material is provided.

Grade 6

Humane Beings

  • With the involvement of the entire class, learners are asked to appreciate how interconnected their world is by following the impact of one simple, common choice. Afterwards, groups will be challenged, through an activity, to make more humane decisions and then provide meaningful reasons for their conclusions. Examples of young people in distant regions showing initiative and responsibility are discussed, followed by local examples. A brief discussion about ways to become involved and how to do so concludes this lesson. Follow-up material is provided.

Grade 7

Humane Thinking

  • Students are challenged to think acutely about their role as “players” in the global economy “game”. Activities involving company logos, brand lettering and catchphrases stimulate thinking about their involvement in our consumer-driven society. Learners will be challenged to accept the destructive processes that are behind the production of a multitude of common items, using a specific electronic device as an example. Finally, participants will critically analyze advertisements in a group setting and have the opportunity to communicate their responses to targeted questions. Follow-up material is provided.

Grade 8

Humane Living

  • For our oldest elementary students, they’re challenged to develop awareness of the world they inhabit. Through an introductory peer-driven discussion, learners will be forced to face many inconspicuous contradictions in human value systems. Students will understand and communicate what the word humane means. Students will then have the opportunity to discover how their actions during a normal day can have far-reaching impacts on themselves, other people, all forms of life and the planet itself. Follow-up material is provided.

High School

Our free high school presentations are full audio/visual lessons using Prezi software (projector required). They are designed and appropriate for all Gr. 9-12 students. Please inquire if interested in a topic not presently offered.


“Grade 10 and 11 Social Science students…were fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a presentation given by Steve Palombo from the Humane Society. The presentation was very interesting and informative, engaging the students to reflect on the decisions they make as consumers and forcing them to consider the impact that their decisions have on animals and on society at large. I appreciated that the information further encouraged them to be responsible and active citizens. I would highly recommend this presentation and I received nothing but positive feedback from all my students.”

  • Cathy Isabella, Dept. Head, Social Sciences, St. Joseph’s High School  

Kindness Over Cruelty (general social sciences, philosophy, world issues/studies, careers/civics, law, interdisciplinary studies, world religions)

We explore animal cruelty as it relates to passive and active abuse and/or neglect. Students will understand the complicated motivations for malicious behaviour and they will learn about the strengths and shortcomings of Canadian law as it relates to animal protection. Animal welfare is examined and a clear association is made between animal mistreatment and domestic violence. Through purposeful questioning, opportunities for discussion, pictures, videos and interviews with our local OSPCA Officers, this presentation challenges us to think critically and encourages the development of our emotional intelligence and ability to empathize.


Animals & Us (general social sciences, philosophy, world issues/studies, careers/civics, law, animal science, world religions, interdisciplinary studies)

This presentation focuses on the human-animal relationship. Students are introduced to six global animal issues where they will experience unbiased, relevant information on each topic. Learners are challenged to think rationally, logically, and thoughtfully about the treatment and use of animals in our modern society and are encouraged to question both their individual (moral) and our societal (ethical) perceptions of right and wrong. Students will leave this presentation well-informed on the simple strategies they can employ to affect positive change in the world, not only for themselves and other people but for all forms of life and the planet itself.


The Humane Society recognizes with thanks the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their support of our humane education initiatives.

Links & Resources

How to Pet-Proof your Home and Yard – (

Smoke Free Pets Campaign – Helping smokers quit to protect their pets (

Stop the 77 – preventing dog bites (

Cats and Birds – keeping cats safe and saving bird lives (

Institute for Humane Education (

Sustainability Frontiers (

Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots program (

Jane Goodall Institute (

Quit Day – Impacts of smoking on pets (

Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (



Bridges of Respect (

The National Humane Education Society (

International Fund for Animal Welfare (


The Humane Society of the United States (

Farm Sanctuary (

We Animals (

The Institute for Critical Animal Studies (

Pet Cost Calculator (