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June 10, 2010

Missouri Teacher Named 2010 National Kind Teacher

The Humane Society of the United States is proud to announce that Melanie Brewer of Excelsior Springs Head Start in Excelsior Springs, Mo. is the recipient of the 29th annual National Kind Teacher Award. The award recognizes a teacher who consistently incorporates the teaching of kindness and respect for animals into the curriculum.

"Ms. Brewer's initiative in teaching responsible pet care and respect for wildlife throughout the year shows a special commitment to humane education," said Heidi O'Brien, director of student outreach for The HSUS. "Her work that drew in parents and community members and even ventured outside the classroom make her the National Kind Teacher of the year."

Brewer, who has been incorporating humane education into the classroom for two years, developed and led pre-K students in a full month's program of humane lessons. The program included responsible pet care, bite prevention, pet overpopulation and respect for wildlife.

"I had heard some comments that the children made about hitting their dog because 'he was bad' and my staff and I decided that a little animal kindness awareness was needed," said Brewer. "The children are very involved with lessons and activities on birds and butterflies and their habitat. My hope is to encourage kindness to all living creatures."

Humane lessons led by Brewer include:

  • Creating a mock veterinary care center in the play area, where the children use play stethoscopes, vet equipment and stuffed animals.
  • Integrating kindness through videos, reading books such as Tails are Not for Pulling, and creating a classroom scrapbook of the children's pets.
  • Inviting speakers and dogs to the classroom, including a veterinary technician, local police officer and his canine partner, visually impaired guest with her seeing eye dog, dog groomer, agility dog trainer and his dog, members of a local search and rescue team, and Brewer's foster dog.
  • Inviting parents to come into the classroom to participate and providing information on humane treatment and dog safety.

Excelsior Springs Friends of Animals noticed her work and made a donation to Brewer for the purchase of humane education books. Brewer also received a Missouri Conservation Grant and created an outdoor classroom where children learn about wildlife and nature. 

As the winner of the National Kind Teacher Award, Brewer received a plaque, a collection of humane education materials for the classroom, and a scholarship for Humane Society University's Certified Humane Education Specialist program. To read more about Brewer or to nominate a teacher for the 2011 National Kind Teacher Award, visit humanesociety.org.

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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