The Animal Interfaith Alliance and VinE are delighted to be in correspondence with William Radinson, from America. He has produced a wonderful Catholic Social Teaching and Humane Education Guide for Kindergarten to Eighth Grade pupils (equivalent to ages 5 to 14 in the UK) which he thought would be of interest to educators. We invited William to tell us what inspired the creation of this comprehensive and well written programme which complements our own RE Resources and can be adapted for school curricula both here and abroad.
Good education plants seeds when we are young, and these continue to bear fruit throughout life.
To download units and supplementary resources, click on Powerpoint icon or title:
“I have been a vegan for nearly 35 years, am a Catholic and serve on the advisory board of Christ the King School, a kindergarten to eighth grade school in the Bronx, a borough of New York City. My interest in humane education stems from “Care for God’s Creation” from the Catholic Social Teaching Scripture Guide and my long-term support of animal protection organizations including the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Farm Sanctuary, American Anti-Vivisection Society, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. I have realized through the years that animal advocacy needed a stronger, moral platform to support humane education.
Reviewing humane education materials from animal protection organizations led to a discussion with the principal at Christ the King School. The school had a teacher interested in discussing humane education during her religion class. Based on that discussion I contacted the humane education division of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, called Teach Kind and they provided several materials that the teacher used during the Fall 2019 school semester.
During the Spring 2020 semester I got feedback from the principal that persuaded me to develop a prototype guide that could be used to organize and plan lessons around humane education. Since the humane education instruction was being taught as part of a religion class, I used the Religion Pacing Guide of the NYC Archdiocese to develop a guide that combines humane education lessons consistent with Catholic Social Teaching for students from kindergarten to the eighth grade. Since there was interest in the prototype, I developed a full school year guide for each grade.
The full school year guide includes an updated listing of the NYC Archdiocese Religion Pacing Guide for the 2021 to 2022 school year, additional Catholic Social Teaching and Humane Education links to age appropriate lessons that can be used by teachers, for all grades and each month of the school year and a summary that includes the Humane Education and Catholic Social Teaching Resources. The guide also includes several slides for teachers that may be interested in expanding the discussion of animal compassion to include the Saint Francis pledge, and the benefits of plant-based diets.
In the past six months I have shared the guide with the National Catholic Education Association and the Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART) to solicit comments to make the guide more accessible to teachers. Ultimately, it would be great if the guide could be adapted to school curricula around the world for all faith traditions.
While discussing the Catholic Social Teaching and Humane Education with Steve Cochrane, the Executive Director of the Institute of Humane Education he asked me why I developed it, and I answered without hesitating that I was doing God’s work.
I would like to thank Barbara Gardner, founder of the Animal Interfaith Alliance, for her book ‘The Compassionate Animal: An Interfaith Guide to the Extended Circle of Compassion’. This wonderful book continues to inspire me to work on improving the lives of animals.”