The Humane Education Institute of Canada (HEIC) has been working on a project that would help educate Canadians on the importance of humane education.
The project is the brainchild of one of Canada’s most renowned teachers of education, Prof. Linda McQuillan, who was instrumental in creating the current model for teaching humane educational programs.
“There is no other program in the world that can teach a curriculum to a large group of children in one day,” said McQuellan.
“I would say that this is the only program in Canada that can do it, so I’m proud to be part of it.”
The program, entitled How to Teach Humane Education, has been presented at a number of public workshops, including in Ottawa and Toronto, as well as at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
McQuills program is designed to address the needs of students with disabilities, youth and families.
The idea behind the program is that if they are learning, they will learn from each other.
The curriculum consists of six modules: “Understanding the Code” teaches about the Canadian Code of Ethics, “Learning the Code of Conduct” teaches the Code’s principles of respect, fairness, and compassion, “Awareness of the Code: The Code of Practice” outlines how to be aware of the code, and “The Code of Practices: Understanding the Code”, explains the ethical principles and behaviours that are required to be observed.
“Students are taught to apply the Code and the principles to the everyday life of their own families and neighbourhoods,” said the HEIC website.
“We believe that the Code has become a critical tool in providing humane education to children.
As educators, we are working with communities, parents, teachers, and families to educate the next generation of students in the principles and practices of the Canadian Humane Education Program.”
The curriculum is based on McQuallan’s own experiences and that of other educators.
“One of the things that’s most important is that it is not just about teaching children to read and write, it’s about having the kids see the Code,” she said.
“It is about learning to listen, to think critically, and to empathize.”
The HEIC has also partnered with the Canadian Association of School Administrators (CAASA), which has developed a toolkit to help educators and parents learn how to teach their children in an appropriate manner.
The HEC is also looking for support from other Canadian institutions to help with the curriculum.
“We are really fortunate to have a network of other institutions who are supporting us, and we’re hoping to be able to offer some support to some of the other institutions in the future,” said Macquillan.
“The most important thing is that we can work together to create the curriculum, so that when kids come to school they have a positive experience.”
The project is a collaborative effort with the Department of Education, the Canadian Institute for Research on Educational Policy (CIERP), the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) and the Ontario Association of Schools and Schools (OASSS).
The initiative is also supported by the Canadian Council of Agencies for Research in Child Development (CCARED).
“We have been working with all the partners for over three years to get this curriculum together and now we’re looking forward to collaborating with the entire organization,” said John Rafferty, Director of Operations and Education at CIERP.
“This is a very important collaboration and I hope it will be successful in helping to build a new model of education for children with disabilities.”
The collaboration has begun with a presentation at a conference in Toronto in early March.
A press conference is planned for June.