Teaching children compassion and kindness starts from a young age.
To impart such values to children, the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) has rolled out new educational programmes and resources to raise awareness about animal behaviour in both non-pet owners and pet owners.
Free online & offline programmes for students
AVS has launched the first comprehensive suite of learning resources on animals for students.
This includes free online slides, videos and worksheets on basic pet care for the pre-school and primary school level.
Other resources available to schools at the pre-school and primary levels include three new storybooks on pets, and an educational resource package.
The books, which focus on pet care, will be distributed to all 1,700 pre-school centres by March 2021.
Other than the books, an educational resource kit comprising of videos, posters, educational cards, 3D model construction kits and a teaching aid for educators, will also be launched in the second quarter of 2021.
AVS worked with the Ministry of Education and Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) to develop messages on pet care, animal health and animal behaviour into the school curriculum and syllabus.
There will also be special training sessions for pre-school educators on how to develop lesson plans on community and companion animals, human-animal interaction, and civic-mindedness.
Schools and teachers can loan out new exhibition panels which will be available to pre-schools and primary schools, while educators (or parents) can also download complementary online activity sheets (as seen below):
New learning journeys for students
Students will also get various opportunities to learn how to care for and interact with animals.
Animal classroom for preschoolers
New programmes such as learning journeys to the new animal classroom at the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden will allow students to learn how to care for and how to interact with animals.
At the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, younger students can learn how to hold and touch small animals, such as rabbits, chinchillas and hamsters, under staff supervision at all times.
The animal classroom is not open to members of the public, and can only be visited through learning journeys aimed at schools.
The interaction also depends on the animal's behaviour and temperament.
Before and after touching the animals, children will have to sanitise and there will be opportunities for children to wash their hands.
Visits to animal quarantine station for older students
For tertiary and secondary school students, AVS is planning on rolling out learning journeys to the Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station.
Through these programmes, students will how quarantined pets are cared for at the facility.
Other initiatives include:
- The Pet Care badge, developed with uniformed groups such as St John Singapore and Singapore Scouts Association, which will allow students to volunteer at AVS’ pet-centric events.
- Animal-related Final Year Projects at Institutes of Higher Learning, such as looking at ways to manage the stray dog population and the importance of sterilisation for community animals.
Programmes for members of the public
AVS is also rolling a suite of resources for other members of the public, such as webinars, and pet care videos.
Members of the public can also learn about co-existing with animal through upcoming monthly webinars on animal behaviour.
These webinars will feature AVS vets, as well as professionals in the pet industry.
The first of the free monthly webinar will be held on Dec. 19, 2020, and will help participants explore key considerations one should think about before getting a pet.
Moving forward, these webinars will be held every 4th Saturday of the month.
15 videos on basic pet care
AVS will also be producing a series of videos on basic pet care for common pets.
There will be 15 videos in total to be rolled out over 2021, starting with the first on pet cat care.
Volunteering opportunities for individuals & corporations
Beyond engaging students, AVS is also developing volunteering opportunities for individuals and corporations through animal-related programmes.
One pilot scheme on Animal-Assisted Interventions involves pairing animals (which are assessed to be of suitable temperaments and possessing the necessary skills) with individuals who could benefit from these activities, to improve their psychological and physiological well-being.
This pilot scheme was carried out in November this year with at-risk youths, aged 12 to 21, from Youth GO!, a youth outreach programme run by Fei Yue Community Services, which aims to engage them in studies or work, stay crime-free and to be resilient individuals.
Youths were involved in guided interaction sessions with cats.
Moving forward, AVS will be partnering Youth GO! to conduct animal-assisted intervention programmes for more youths.
AVS also intends to expand the programme to other beneficiaries in the near future.
Totally unrelated but follow and listen to our podcast here
Top photos via NParks