Humane Education coursework

According to the Institute for Humane Education, humane education is the teaching of compassion and respect of animals, the environment, and humans. Humane education teaches the skills of commitment to live ethically, sustainably, justly, and peacefully. According to Zoe Weil, the founder of the Institute for Humane Education in Maine, humane education includes four elements, which we have altered slightly for the Rochester River Charter School:

1.     Providing accurate information about the pressing challenges of our time so that students have the knowledge to face obstacles head-on;

2.     Fostering the 3C’s: curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking so that students have the tools to meet challenges and take informed action;

3.     Instilling the 4R’s: reverence, respect, responsibility, and resourcefulness so that students have the motivation and confidence to confront challenges.

4.     Offering positive choices and tools for problem solving so students will be able to solve challenges (Institute for Humane Education, nd; Weil, 2004).

Teachers should practice and model the 3 I’s—Inquiry, Introspection, and Integrity—and have students do the same. Such a framework will inform curriculum development and school projects—indeed, the entire mission for the school.

Our curriculum in grades five through eight especially, but for all eight grade levels generally is inspired by Zoe Weil’s forthcoming book, The World Becomes What You Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries ( and her various TEDx talks: