Animal behavior pedagogy for early childhood alternative education

Author: Madeleine Youngman
Major: Environmental Studies
Approved: Spring 2019
Status: In progress

I would like to create pedagogy that teaches animal behavior in non-anthropocentric ways. The curriculum will attempt to increase value of animals and eliminate speciesism. Pedagogy should be from the perspective of the subject and connections should be addressed. Non-human animal topics and issues often are interwoven or mirrored by human problems. Food scarcity affects humans and animals alike, only it looks different. The curriculum will be targeted for alternative education settings, such as nature centers, national and state parks, and museums. I would like the curriculum to be feasible within the constraints of urban and rural settings. While I would like the focus of the curriculum to be for young children, some of the projects and lessons should be adaptable for older kids as well.

This project will be presented in the form of a compilation of lesson plans and curriculum. I attended Project Wet and Project Learning Tree workshops and I will loosely follow the structure of those so that I include everything necessary. The lesson plans will include variations that will allow the lessons to be adaptable to other materials, ages, setting, and time. I will also include background on the topic so that the instructor can read all the information necessary for the lesson and SOL’s covered so that the teacher can justify using this. Lastly, I will include supplemental activities and readings. I will also partner with an organization to test out the lesson plans. After testing them out, I will include teaching notes, that reflect my experience using the lessons and how I felt they worked. I will write a reflection that summarizes my experiences with creating the curriculum. I will also need IRB approval to test out my lessons with children. This will be harder since they are children. Lastly I will upload my curriculum to an E-Portfolio.