SPCA’s vision is to inspire a kinder, more compassionate Aotearoa for animals and people by providing free and engaging online animal welfare themed teaching and learning resources.


SPCA's educational resources are designed to encourage exploration and development of knowledge, skills, and understandings needed to create feelings of empathy, compassion, respect and justice for the lives of all living things.

SPCA’s Education Programme is designed to help teachers integrate animal welfare education into their early learning setting or classroom programme, and to support parents and whānau to continue this learning within the home.

The resources offer tools and strategies to enhance existing teaching and learning, and achieve the principles, strands and goals of Te Whāriki and fulfil the New Zealand Curriculum achievement objectives in all learning areas. This approach is consistent with the vision of Te Whāriki and the New Zealand Curriculum of young people as competent, creative, energetic, enterprising young people who are healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge they are active participants in and contribute to the future wellbeing of Aotearoa (not passive recipients of knowledge).


Animal welfare education is about the fostering of respect, understanding, compassion and responsibility towards animals. It is an exploration of how we share the world with other living beings and the responsibilities we have in ensuring their wellbeing.

Given the prevalence of violence in society today, it is more crucial than ever to instill compassion, empathy and tolerance in young people. Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between violent acts towards animals and people. Additionally, research in animal welfare education suggests that children’s compassion toward animals is related to their empathy towards humans.

SPCA’s Education Programme promotes essential character-building qualities such as empathy, kindness, respect for others and personal responsibility as well as engaging learners in core curriculum learning through a real-life meaningful context. As children develop empathy (the ability to assume the feelings and perspective of other humans and animals), they begin to understand concepts such as respect, cooperation, sharing, fairness and patience.

SPCA’s educational resources are designed to be integrated into Te Whāriki and the New Zealand Curriculum by experienced, New Zealand trained teachers. The resources focus on a variety of animal welfare concepts and provide teachers with the tools to incorporate these topics into their early learning setting or daily classroom programme.

The learning experiences allow students to gain knowledge and understanding of animals through interactive, project based learning. Great importance is placed on the inquiry process and critical thinking as well as developing leadership skills to put compassion into action. SPCA’s Resources for Schools have been piloted by classroom teachers throughout Auckland and evaluated by New Zealand Council for Educational Research. This approach has enabled us to make informed, evidence based decisions throughout our programme’s development.


Supporting your child's learning and empathetic development

Children learn best through meaningful, on-going experiences that are shared and encouraged between the home, school or education setting, and within their wider whānau and community.

This is why SPCA developed a diverse range of free, online education resources, to ensure every young learner, parent or guardian, and New Zealand teacher can access resources that encourage children’s exploration and the development of knowledge, skills, and understandings needed to create feelings of empathy, compassion, respect and justice for the lives of all living things.

There is a lot of advice and research out there that suggests having a companion animal is a great way to teach children compassion and responsibility. However, the presence of animals in a home alone does not automatically make children more empathetic. Our SPCA’s Kids Portal is a wonderful resource for parents and whānau to be able to support their children’s learning journey.