The Be Kind programme teaching empathy and understanding

Education plays a huge role in the welfare of dogs around the world. When humans learn to respect these incredible animals and appreciate the many wonderful things they can bring to our lives, they open themselves up to one of the most amazing relationships there is.

The Be Kind programme

The new Be Kind programme from Wild at Heart Foundation aims to support the mental wellbeing of young people and help them to understand the positive impact dogs can have on our lives, whilst developing key skills in empathy, compassion, kindness and understanding. It has been developed alongside a team of passionate educators, to ensure that it’s impactful, positive and inspiring.

Thoughts from a Head 

Linton-on-Ouse Primary School Head Teacher, Davinia Pearson, has a rescue dog called Harry who has accompanied her to school every day since April 2021. She was excited to learn about the new Be Kind programme available to schools and was one of the first to sign up. She said: “Wellbeing has always been a priority at our school but with lockdowns and covid, it’s essential. The Be Kind programme helps young people to explore and better understand the symbiotic relationship between dogs and their own mental wellbeing and having our new resident school dog, the programme has come at such a perfect time.”

It’s hoped that by being kind to animals and understanding their needs, whether the children are dog lovers or not, will ultimately teach them about kindness and compassion to others and themselves. Davinia continued: “We’ve selected 45-50 students to take part in the programme. The resources are brilliant, and I was incredibly impressed with the concept. With the School Council’s backing I signed up immediately! The programme is a great addition to PSHE classes and I’m confident that the children are going to love taking part and get so much out of it.”

The Be Kind programme ties into the compassion, mental health and kindness elements of the PSHE curriculum by demonstrating the resilience, trust, forgiveness and loyalty of dogs. With the guidance of educators, the charity aims to continue to grow and expand the Be Kind programme further.

Programme Overview:

  • Designed for KS2 students
  • Linked to the National Curriculum
  • Free to sign-up and take part
  • 5 workbooks with various lesson plans and activities
  • Approximately 10 hours of content Students will develop key skills in empathy, compassion, kindness and understanding, whilst learning about the positive impact dogs can have on our lives
  • Support from Wild at Heart Foundation education team in delivering the programme

The Benefits

Nikki Tibbles, Founder of Wild at Heart Foundation said: “We are so excited about the Be Kind programme. As a charity, we believe that learning to love dogs is one of the most rewarding experiences any child can benefit from. By introducing children to different animal behaviours safely, we can help them feel confident around animals and learn how to behave and interact in their company. We want to dispel the myths that dogs are harmful and foster a respect for dogs and the role they play in our lives and society. 

By developing a bond with a dog it can help your mental wellbeing immensely and form a mutual respect between animal and human.” Davinia concluded: “The Wild at Heart Foundation Be Kind programme fits perfectly with our school ethos and will help pupils to adapt skills including communication, resilience, community and working together. Dogs can’t communicate verbally and some children find it difficult to express their emotions. By going on this journey together and looking at animal behaviours and how dogs communicate their feelings can only be a good thing.”

How to get your school involved

You can sign-up to deliver the programme for free in your schools by visiting https://wildatheartfoundation.org/be-kind-programme/ or emailing education@wildatheartfoundation.org.

Wild at Heart Foundation has received funding for this programme from its longstanding partnership with dog lover Manolo Blahnik and the Manolo Blahnik brand.

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