A preK-12 program that combines SEL with education about dog behaviors, and pet shelters: The Mutt-i-grees program

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The Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, developed by the Pet Savers Foundation and the Yale University School of the 21st Century (US), builds on children’s affinity with animals to promote social and emotional skills, as well as to educate about the needs of animals, particularly shelter pets. Implemented in schools across the US and Canada, the Mutt-i-grees curriculum includes 25 scripted weekly lessons (each 30 mins long) designed to enhance children’s skills and confidence in interacting with other people as well as with animals. Each lesson also includes a letter to parents, which provides relevant information and activities or ideas for reinforcing the learning at home. Many lessons also include community involvement activities, and schools are encouraged to connect with local animal shelters to provide students with opportunities for community service, and to bring dogs into the classroom.

Separate, developmentally appropriate lessons are available for PreK-K, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-5, and Grade 6. There is a supplementary Paws Down, Tails Up kit for out-of-school programs that includes physical activities and games, and also a Mutt-i-grees in the Library extension kit for local libraries or animal shelters that includes activities and crafts that staff can use to engage families and children in SEL and humane education.

Staff development training is optional, and teachers can access “Mutterville”, an online community where educators share ideas and experiences in implementation.