Skip navigation

Curriculum News Archive

Curriculum Overview: How teaching kids about shelter dogs can make them better students

Pet owners all over the world know the benefits of spending time with dogs. They give us unconditional love. They calm us when we’re angry. They even brighten our moods when it seems nothing else can.

But did you know that studying shelter dogs in school can improve children’s behavior, confidence and academic performance? The Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum, is finding just that and more.

New York City Student Raises $100 for Shelter Animals

Inspired by the charitable work of one of her classmates, a New York City middle school student, named Sam, has raised $100 for North Shore Animal League America’s Help Me Heal Program. Sam is a member of her school’s YAP (or Youth Animal Protectors) Club and studies the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum. These two programs work in conjunction at her school to teach students about animals in need and encourage relevant service learning projects.

Librarian of the Month: Robin Sofge

This month’s featured librarian is Robin Sofge, Youth Services Librarian at Bull Run Regional Library in Manassas, VA.

Robin Sofge (far left), Animal Rescue Manager, Beate Begley (middle), and shelter volunteer, Terri Kellenberger (right)

When Robin started as a full-time Youth Services Librarian at Bull Run Regional Library this past December, she knew she wanted to bring the Mutt-i-grees message to her new community in Manassas, VA. After all, it had been a big hit when she started the Mutt-i-grees program at Beatley Central Library in Alexandria, VA last fall.

Book Recommendation: The Emotional Lives of Animals & Children: Insights from a Farm Sanctuary

The Emotional Lives of Animals & Children: Insights from a Farm Sanctuary by William Crain

In 2008, Bill Crain, a professor of psychology at The City College of New York, and his wife Ellen, a recently retired pediatrician, opened Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary in Poughquag, NY, which provides a permanent home to over 70 animals rescued from abuse and neglect. In his observations of these animals, Crain discovered that their emotional behaviors can help us understand those of human children. According to Crain, there are a variety of emotional behaviors that are shared by animals and children: fear, play, freedom, care, spirituality, and resilience.

Sit. Stay. Read.

Many schools and libraries offer programs that allow children to read to dogs. Children who have difficulties reading may be self-conscious when reading aloud in front of others; however, a dog is a non-judgmental listener. Reading to a dog provides a relaxed atmosphere, which allows participants to practice reading skills. It also builds self-esteem and confidence and provides an environment for children to connect reading with a positive association.