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PAWS and BEE Kind - A Mutt-i-grees® Lesson for February and Beyond

Students and teachers at the Fenton Primary Center, in Pacoima, Calif., celebrated the approach of Valentine’s Day with a weeklong Mutt-i-grees® event called “Hearts for Happy Hounds,” focusing on fun, kindness, and fundraising. The Center, a TK-6 grade campus, is part of the Fenton Avenue Charter School network in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, one of the Curriculum’s pioneer sites.

“Our winter event always highlights daily activities that stress caring for shelter animals and being responsible and respectful citizens,” says Barbara Aragón, Director of the Fenton Primary Center. This year, she says the event featured daily themes to reinforce the Mutt-i-grees message.

On Monday children created posters supporting shelter animals, with one student from each grade winning a prize. Barbara reports that the posters conveyed heartfelt messages encouraging people to love their pets, show kindness, and be responsible citizens.

Tuesday was Hats for Happy Hounds. On Wednesday students wore red to raise awareness and show support for Mutt-i-grees. Thursday was Silly Socks for Strays Day, and Friday was Bark for Bulletin Boards, a contest that highlighted Mutt-i-grees lessons using key vocabulary and art. In addition, the school raised funds for a local shelter by selling colorful “Hearts for Happy Hounds” wristbands throughout the week.

“The Curriculum is taught all year long,” says Barbara, “but during this week we join as a ‘pack’ to bring awareness to shelter animals and Mutt-i-grees. Participating as a student body helps students become more aware of the power of people and how we can come together to help those in our community who are helpless or homeless.

“We enroll quite a few students who live at a local homeless shelter,” she continues. “Exposing children to an initiative that focuses on extending kindness to puppies and kittens shows them that little acts of kindness can make a big difference.”

Fortunately, the faculty doesn’t limit this valuable lesson to one short week in February. Instead, students spend the entire year illustrating and writing about the effects of kindness on pets and each other. To support this message, the teachers decided to incorporate the school’s popular mascot, a bumblebee.

“We wanted to combine Mutt-i-grees and bees by creating a PAWS and BEE Kind Tree,” Barbara says. “Each classroom received two printed paws where students could write messages of kindness and words of encouragement. The students are excited to place their ‘PAWS and BEE Kind’ messages on the tree. Many of the sentiments reflect an overall tone of caring for pets and how children can show kindness in the classroom in little ways.”

Each morning, the Fenton Primary Center starts the day right with assorted announcements, along with a gentle reminder to BEE Safe, BEE Respectful, and BEE Responsible. “We want children to stop, PAWS, and think of a way they can show kindness to pets and people,” says Barbara, “In other words, to ‘Bee Kind.’”

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