Scottish SPCA education programme Animal WISE reengages with schools in West Lothian

The Scottish SPCA’s education programme, Animal WISE, is being reintroduced in schools through e-learning and virtual lessons now that schools are back from the summer break.

By Kevin Quinn
Thursday, 26th August 2021, 5:00 am
Stock Scottish SPCA photo, taken before the pandemic. Pic by Peter Devlin
Stock Scottish SPCA photo, taken before the pandemic. Pic by Peter Devlin

Scotland’s animal welfare charity adapted its Animal WISE offering over lockdown, moving away from the traditional classroom visits to include virtual lessons, webinars and e-learning activities.

Outdoor face-to-face lessons will be available from October 18 onwards. In 2019, the Scottish SPCA attended Linlithgow Primary among others and hope to visit more in the area.

Gilly Mendes Ferreira, SSPCA head of education, policy and research, said: “We expanded our education initiatives last year to embrace the virtual world and develop our digital offering. We created interactive games and animations to keep young people engaged and to teach them about the importance of animal welfare.

“We created downloadable education packs, which have now been downloaded over 7,200 times.

" We also distributed around 1,000 packs with the help of Barnardo’s and Police Scotland to children who did not have the facilities to access the packs online.

“Due to restrictions lifting, we were recently able to welcome young people to our centres to take part in our Adventure Clubs in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and at our National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Clackmannanshire.

"We can’t wait to get back to schools to deliver our cross curricular Animal WISE programmes in person again.

"We are also taking the outdoor learning approach so lessons will not take place inside classrooms but outside in the playground.”

Speaking more about the education programme, Gilly said: “The Animal WISE secondary programme is designed to be interactive and engaging, providing opportunities to take part in a court room role play workshop and decide the outcome of an animal welfare investigation and discuss career opportunities in a variety of animal related sectors, including veterinary positions.

"Secondary pupils will also have the opportunity to engage with the Scottish SPCA’s manifesto and discuss what they would do to make Scotland #BetterForAnimals.

“Animal WISE supports health and wellbeing, enhances literacy and numeracy skills, introduces innovative ways to engage with STEM and inspires future career pathways.

"We promote the importance of positive human animal interactions and work with partners to protect that human animal bond. The Scottish SPCA wants to be seen as a key partner to every school in Scotland .

“Animal WISE aims to educate every generation in a meaningful way. Our programmes align with the Curriculum for Excellence so there is a wealth of tools that can be used by teachers from early years through to secondary school.

"Through our ambition to help develop the young workforce and support every local community we will also have new opportunities when it comes to engaging with colleges, universities and families no matter how old or young you are.

“Our services are completely free and we are encouraging teachers in particular to book now.”