The Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum is a new, innovative
program that builds on children’s affinity for
animals and highlights the unique characteristics
and desirability of Mutt-i-grees®, or shelter
pets. The goal of the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum
is to enable children to grow up to be calm, confident,
The Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum is more than an educational
curriculum. It sets in motion the fundamentals needed
to help transform the classroom and school climate,
enhance teacher-student interactions, and engage parents
and the community. The inclusion of real-life scenarios
and dog-related activities captivates students, educators,
and parents and promotes reflection and compassion.
The Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum was developed by
Shore Animal League America/The
Pet Savers Foundation, in collaboration with Yale
University’s School of the 21st Century, and
is funded by The Millan Foundation.
Plans for the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum began in
2009. The first two phases of the Curriculum –
Pre-K-Grade 3 and Grades 4-6 – have been published,
and the lessons in these phases have been field-tested
in classrooms around the country. The Mutt-i-grees®
Curriculum for Middle School and High School will
be published in 2012.
• Approximately 900 schools in 36 states are
currently using the
• Close to 100,000 students have been reached
• Internationally, the Curriculum is available
to schools in Canada
The Curriculum teaches social and emotional skills
and is unique in its bridging of humane education
and the emerging field of Social and Emotional Learning
(SEL). SEL is the process by which children learn
to manage their emotions, get along with others, have
empathy and compassion, and discover essential teamwork
skills. These skills are important in life, but also
in academic achievement. Studies show that children
do better in school when they are socially and emotionally
In a series of easily implemented lessons, children
learn these critical skills that will help them in
their interactions with people (and animals) in school,
at home, and later on in the workplace. The lessons
are presented in five themes: Achieving Awareness,
Finding Feelings, Encouraging Empathy, Cultivating
Cooperation, and Dealing with Decisions. Integrated
throughout the Curriculum are feature lessons on dog
behavior developed with renowned dog behavior expert
Millan, from National Geographic WILD’s
The Dog Whisperer.
Research has shown that there are many positive effects
of dog-human interactions. The presence of a dog invokes
positive emotions, laughter, conversation, and excitement
in humans. Dogs also increase the expression of oxytocin,
a bonding hormone which lowers heart rate, blood pressure,
and stress in humans who pet them. In fact, even the
vicarious presence of a dog (in the form of a puppet
or toy) or simply thinking about dogs has been shown
to be effective in commanding attention, improving
cognitive abilities, and contributing to happiness.
The Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum does not require
the presence of a dog in the classroom. However, developmentally
disabled children especially benefit from and are
drawn to dogs. Children struggling with literacy problems
often read to reading assistance dogs in some schools
and public libraries. The therapeutic value of animals
for socially isolated individuals in nursing homes,
hospitals, hospices, and prisons has been documented.
People in the presence of animals are often perceived
to be calmer, happier, healthier, and less stressed.
Teachers report that the dog-related stories and activities
in the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum engage students
and promote learning.
It is possible for Mutt-i-grees® schools to work
directly with local animal shelters or rescue organizations
in their community. Students may be involved in fundraising
projects, internships, or service learning and volunteer
opportunities. The Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum focuses
on parent and community involvement and a number of
activities encourage shelter employees or volunteers
to visit classrooms and introduce students to Mutt-i-grees®.
Field trips to local shelters can also provide students
with opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning.
If teachers or facilitators need assistance connecting
with local shelters, please contact email@example.com
and we will be happy to help.
How can the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum be used?
• Mainstream classrooms
• Special education classrooms
• After-school programs
• Service learning
• Character education programs
• Health education
• Preschool, childcare, and Head Start programs
• Parent education programs
• Title I Schools
Lesson Plans in the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum include:
• Hands-on activities
• Role play
• Readings and resources
• Family and community involvement activities
The Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum is a Pre-K to Grade
12 program, being developed in four phases: Phase
I: Pre-K-Grade 3; Phase II: Grades 4-6; Phase III:
Middle School; and Phase IV: High School. The first
and second phases are complete and are available to
educators interested in implementation. Phases III:
Middle School and IV: High School are now being developed
and expected to launch in early and mid 2012.
To order Phase I and II, visit:
For more information about the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum,
please visit http://education.muttigrees.org.
You may also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (203) 432-9944.