What We Do

Primary School Programme

We have a variety of Programmes we can discuss with your class and we will tailor each program for the age group of your class.

Four and upwards:

 It’s important at this stage that children are shown how to respect and handle a pet. They do not always have good control over their movements and coordination but they will want to treat their pets with love and kindness so a little help from us, guiding their hands, will go a long way.

We can do this by bringing Daniel our new Education Dog into the classroom and, through guidance, help children to stroke and pet Daniel. We can start to teach about Empathy and how animals FEEL the same things we do. We can also begin to discuss why a person might be mean or cruel to an animal; keeping in mind that we must impress upon the child that it is wrong to hurt an animal. At this stage it is important to accept that children often have a morbid curiosity and it is very important answer questions without having in depth discussions or questions on cruelty to animals. Therefore, we only very briefly will discuss such cases in an age appropriate way.

Seven to Ten year olds:

At this age, children form their earliest memories and impressions about the world we live in and it’s important, that we, as adults, filter certain information. Even if a child witnesses violence as a way ‘not to act towards others,’ the fact is, they are still witnessing violence and can be strongly affected by it.

Ten to Twelve year olds:

Trusted adults, such as parents, teachers and family members can discuss with children of this age how they would react if their friends or peers treated animals cruelly. By doing this you can help the child overcome peer pressure to follow what is right. Children may encounter others abusing animals, and, knowing what is right and knowing they will be given support for doing what is right is very important to them; especially in light of very strong peer pressure.

Children emulate us, and, if we treat animals cruelly they will think that this is the correct way to behave. The more a child identifies with an adult the greater the impact that adult will have on that child; both good and bad.

It’s important to make sure children know who they can trust. If they witness or know of an animal being cruelly treated they should tell an adult about it. For us, as adults, it’s important to nurture the child’s trust so they feel comfortable telling us.

Also check out the DSPCA Care Awards - you may know someone who you would like to nominate.

 If your class is interested in fundraising for the DSPCA please download our simple Junior Fundraising guide.

Some of our Programmes for Primary School:

The Work of the DSPCA Poster

Responsible Dog & Puppy Care

Responsible Cat & Kitten Care

Exotic Animals as Pets

Coping with the Loss of a Pet

My Pet is Missing...

Small animals are not suitable starter pets

Harmful Litter to Animals


Teachers Section


Teachers Resources

Primary School Newsletters


Essay and Story Time

Aiste agus Scéal Am

Word Searches

Become an Animal Friendly School

Books recommeded by the DSPCA

Animal Research School Project for 7-10 year olds

Spay / Neuter Programme for 5th & 6th Primary School Classes

Who is responsible?

If you have a topic of interest that is not listed here, please ask and we will do our best to meet your needs. Humane education is an important part of the learning experience.

Why do some children abuse Animals - Information to be read by teachers only.

Our Programmes - We can come and talk to your kids about these programmes or you can download them and teach them to your children, you can contact Gillian Bird by telephoning her at (01) 4994705 or email gillian.bird@dspca.ie for more information and support.  Please keep an eye on this page as we are working to add more programmes.

 Book now

If you are interested in subscribing to our Primary School online Newsletter please email Gillian.

DeViney, E., Dickert, J. & Lockwood, R. (1983). The Care of Pets Within child Abusing Families. International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems, 3, 321 – 329
Adcione, F.R. Weber, C.V. & Wood, D.S. (1997), Animal Welfare and Domestic Violence: Final report, Logan, Utah: Utah State University.
Special thanks to the ASPCA. American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.


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