Tips for Successful Children’s Programs

ASPCA, Humane Education


Tips for Successful Children’s Programs

Target Grade/Level
Understand your audience’s attention span and comprehension level. Use age-appropriate materials. Also, be culturally sensitive.

Speak to or visit the teacher in advance to help you develop your program.

Prepare & Follow-up
Provide the teacher with preliminary activities to prepare the children for your presentation. Follow-up materials for the children, teacher and parents are helpful too

Arrive at your program early to prepare and to get a feel for your audience.

Set Rules
Set ground rules at the beginning of the presentation (e.g. no calling out or touching the animal without permission).

Do not lecture. Involve your audience by asking lots of questions. Be creative. Use hands-on and visual aids.

Be Flexible
Be flexible and spontaneous. Not all groups are the same and you must be prepared to modify the program for your audience.

Listen to what your audience has to say. Often you can relate their experiences and comments to the program.

Be Selective
If you are using a live animal, choose an appropriate one that will provide a positive experience for the children. Prepare the teacher in advance so there will be no surprises (such as allergic or extremely fearful children).

Rehearse, rehearse. There is no substitute for preparation. The more you practice the less nervous and the more prepared you will be.

Remember three main components for a successful humane education program:

  • Promotes a respect for life.
  • Uses an appropriate educational message.
  • Provides accurate information about animals and the environment.

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