Humane education is based on the concept that all life is precious and is practiced by teaching young people the value and importance of treating other living creatures with kindness. In Belize, probably more than most places in the world, the cycle of life is all around us. Belize is a country that treasures and values its natural resources and many Belizeans have worked hard to ensure that much of this beautiful country is kept as natural reserves. This means that some animals are now well protected and respected, but not all. Children in Belize may encounter many animals as they grow up, both domestic and wild, and it is important they learn about them.
It has been well established that children that learn to be kind to animals are also kinder to people, are better at communicating and are more likely to become helpful and caring members of the community as adults. Humane education also helps children develop better interpersonal skills such as speaking and listening while improving their attitudes towards caring for others. Humane Education promotes empathy and respect for all life.
Be Kind Belize has been developed by Colette Kase, a resident of San Pedro, who worked in the field of animal welfare and education for most of her career in the UK. She designed the program to compliment the Belize National Curriculum, enabling schools to take part while fulfilling their educational obligations.
As well as providing a full humane education program for free to any school in San Pedro, Be Kind Belize also organizes educational talks for children, such as the recent tour of schools undertaken by Marisa Tellez from the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES), who gave an exciting presentation to children about crocodiles in San Pedro. Be Kind Belize is also creating an Educator’s Pack and will provide free training to any teacher or educator, who wishes to introduce the program to their school and run it ‘in house’.
Colette is currently teaching the program at Island Academy and will be working with Holy Cross School at the end of the month, where Be Kind Belize has already done a number of educational talks for the children.
Colette Kase says, “The children of San Pedro are so bright and enthusiastic and they just seem to be so excited about learning how to protect the environment and save it for generations to come. But we don’t just teach about the environment – Be Kind Belize teaches children to be kind to themselves, kind to others and kind to animals. The workshops are fun and interactive and the kids have a great time participating, making teaching and learning a wonderful experience.”
The children in the Be Kind Belize class at Island Academy were given a homework assignment to create a presentation about an endangered native species in Belize. They worked in teams and produced fantastic posters, while also giving a talk to their classmates about the animal they had researched. Everyone was delighted and stunned at how much work the children put into their projects and how excited they were about presenting them. It seems clear that kids love the Be Kind Belize program.
Be Kind Belize is available to all schools in San Pedro for free. It is an eight-part program, which can be adapted to any school schedule. If your school is interested in participating in the Be Kind Belize humane education program, contact Colette Kase at 226 4366 or 624 8251.