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Raising Compassionate Kids

Humane Education & Interventions for Early Learners Certificate

Strengthen the Potential of the Future

This professional development certificate program of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver focuses on humane education training for teachers, parents and caregivers of children ages 2-8, with easy adaptability for older children. It includes three online courses and one residential course taught in Denver, Colorado.

Apply online for the Raising Compassionate Kids: Humane Education & Interventions for Early Learners certificate program.

Why Humane Education?

At no time in human history has the need for humane education been more acute. Tensions between humans, environmental devastation and rampant abuse of other animals are at an all time high.

  • For example, for survival, humans depend on a healthy and thriving Earth and the services Earth provides, such as clean air and water, food, medicines, disease management, building materials, fuel, climate regulation, buffering of storms, and spiritual fulfillment.

Over the past fifty years, humans have negatively altered global ecosystems and driven more species into extinction more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history.

  • Transformation of Earth has contributed to substantial gains in human well-being and economic development for a few, but at the cost of the health, well-being and security of most humans, particularly those already marginalized and oppressed, as well as almost all other species.

Humane education demonstrates how human-human, human-animal, and human-Earth bonds can bring about deep and lasting social, emotional, cognitive, physical, spiritual and psychological changes to heal the Earth and allow her to maintain humanity and for humans to live with each other and other species in peace and with compassion.

Why Humane education for early learners?

Humane education fosters compassion, healthy choices, social-emotional growth, critical thinking skills and a sense of purpose in young children.

Humane education activities and learning apply in many settings. 

For example:

  • As part of a visit from the local humane society, a child learns that millions of dogs and cats are euthanized every year in the U.S. alone. She shares this with her family and friends and encourages all to adopt companion animals from shelters and never buy again.
  • As part of his summer camp experience at a farm animal sanctuary, a child bonds with a calf and does independent investigation to discover how they are treated in the dairy industry and pledges to abstain from dairy products.
  • A parent learns of the plan to drill for oil in her county through the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), after learning the impact on local water, air and soil and resulting impact on her child's health, she creates a parent group to block the drilling permits and advocate for renewable energy use in her county.

Program Goals

The application of humane education requires that those delivering the interventions are compassionate, knowledgeable, trained and have the expertise necessary to attend to the needs of people, other animals and the natural world simultaneously.

Students who successfully complete the Raising Compassionate Kids: Humane Education & Interventions for Early Learners certificate will:

  • Maintain a firm understanding of the interconnections between humans, other animals and environmental health;
  • Understand how the effects of human behavior and psychology have had a detrimental impact on global health and social stability;
  • Demonstrate deep empathy with and passion for working for the well-being of humans, other animals and the natural world simultaneously;
  • Learn how to foster the best qualities in young children, for their health and well-being and for that of world;
  • Learn to create and implement high-quality humane education programs and interventions;
  • Earn continuing education units (CEUs) on University of Denver transcript.

Program Description

The Humane Education & Interventions for Early Learners certificate requires completion of all courses listed below. Students progress through three online courses with a group of peers, forming cohorts, then meet face-to-face in Denver, Colorado, USA for the Capstone session.

Courses utilize a variety of learning methods including readings, written assignments, community/experiential activities, videos and discussion forums. Students may complete all coursework at their convenience, within specified due dates. Experiential activities are incorporated into each course and require students to work in their community, away from the computer.

Instructors offer guidance, individualized weekly feedback to each student and participate in online discussion forums.

Course Descriptions

Complete the following courses within the same cohort and in sequence to earn the certificate:

Greta Feeding goat     Course 1: Introduction to Humane Education for Early Learners
Early childhood provides the critical time in the life of all humans to develop compassion, understanding of and respect for humans, other animals and the natural environment. This course centers on introducing students to the science of early childhood (ages 2 - 8) cognitive and emotional development and on an introduction to the discipline of humane education.
Boys and Lichen     Course 2: Protection Issues for Nature, People and Other Animals

We live in a time of immense global suffering at the hands and minds of humans. This course provides students with an overview of the content knowledge of suffering caused, most often unknowingly, to other humans, other animals and the natural environment. While the content is for adults and at an adult level, students will begin to navigate how the encouragement of compassion and restraint in the very young helps lead them toward a more compassionate human presence on Earth. Examples of topics included in this course are celebrating human diversity, bullying, human rights and the global economic machine, the sixth mass extinction, animals in agriculture and the pet trade, global environmental change, climate change, human overpopulation and the interconnections between violations of human, other animal and environmental rights.

CBEIP logo     Course 3: Activity Planning, Modeling, and Mindfulness for Raising Kind Kids

Raising a generation of kind, compassionate and thoughtful children is critical and the responsibility of all adults. In this course students will learn about three arenas in which caregivers and educators of young children can make a lifelong impact on the young lives they touch.

  1. One arena is within the home where the most profound modeling and teaching occurs during every waking moment: words, actions and activities that are mindful and compassionate make lasting impressions. Family, child welfare, and animal assisted social workers play a significant role in families they work for.
  2. Another arena is in early childhood learning environments, day care, preschool, kindergarten, and primary school all play a pivotal role in fostering kindness.
  3. The final arena is free-choice learning environments such as parks, nature centers, museums, play spaces and more and the education providers who provide the voice and the modeling of care for those places and the lives within. The importance of free-play and time devoid of technology will also be covered.

Experiential Capstone Session in Colorado

Two-day Capstone session at the culmination of the certificate program provides an opportunity for hands-on learning.

Students will finalize their certificate with the production of an action plan for participating in the raising of kind kids through their home or work arena which will be presented at the Capstone event.

On Day 1, join your cohort and instructors in Denver, Colorado, to present your Capstone Project to a panel of our experts at the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver.

The second day will be filled with learning about the variety of experiential learning strategies and opportunities along the Front Range, from Erie, CO to Larkspur, CO!

eligibility requirements

To enroll in the Humane Education & Interventions for Early Learners Certificate, you must have earned a Bachelor's degree from an accredited 4-year college or university or have the equivalent working experience in environmental, conservation or humane education or in human rights.

A computer with high-speed Internet access and word-processing software (Microsoft Word) is required, along with strong computer skills, experience and comfort. Specific web browser and operating system requirements can be found here.

application AND ADMISSIONS

Apply online for the Raising Compassionate Kids: Humane Education & Interventions for Early Learners certificate program by clicking here.

There is a one-time, non-refundable application fee of $25, due at the time of application.

Enrollment is capped at 12 students per cohort. Due to the format of the program, applicants are placed on an active wait list once their applications are submitted, reviewed and accepted. Applicants will be notified via e-mail once they are accepted into the certificate program and eligible for enrollment into a cohort and will receive detailed registration and payment information via e-mail.


Cohort 2 (Registration Open Now!)

Course 1: 9/11/17 - 11/3/17
Course 2: 1/8/18 - 3/2/18
Course 3: 3/19/18 - 5/11/18
Capstone: 5/30/18 - 5/31/18

Cohort 3 - Apply Now

Course 1: 9/10/2018 - 11/2/2018
Course 2: 1/7/2019 - 3/1/2019
Course 3: 3/25/2019 - 5/17/2019
Capstone: 5/30 - 5/31/2019

program fees & payment methods

The certificate program tuition fee is $4,400, and registration constitutes an agreement to pay the non-refundable program fee in full. There is also a one-time, non-refundable application fee of $25, due at the time of application.

Payment may be made in full or in installments as follows:

  • $1,500 before Course 1 begins
  • $1,450 before Course 2 begins
  • $1,450 before Course 3 begins

Payments are made online by credit/debit card. Special arrangements can be made for third-party payers.


Please contact Sarah Bexell, PhD, Humane Education Program Director, for more information at: [email protected]