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Studying animals reminds us not to judge, to communicate more honestly, and to learn what truly matters. Learning through animals makes us better humans.

Available courses include:

Inter-Species Communication and Animal Behavior

Intended to help students draw parallels between humans and non-human animals, and learn from them how we can become better communicators, judge less and learn what truly matters in life. Using images, video, the latest scientific research and open discussion, this course is a primer on the behavior of non-human and human animals alike, including the definition of intelligence; different kinds of minds, needs and environments; the parallels in emotions and behavior; herd/pack/ group behavior and hierarchy; the science of emotions that we all share; etc. Learning  about animals helps us learn about ourselves without putting the focus on ourselves. This course can be adapted to several session lengths and for different age groups/grade levels.
Syllabus available upon request.

Animal Behavior II - More than meets the eye

A follow-up to Inter-Species Communication and Animal Behavior, this course reminds us there is so much more to know about how our, and other animals' behaviors, aid (or hinder!) our relationships and our outcomes. Using images, video, the latest scientific research and open discussion, this class highlights some fascinating things like how cats see the world with their noses; how looking at the hair whorls on horses (and in many other mammals) can tell us something about their character; what we can learn about the mind-body connection from sea squirts;or how eliminating the dreaded mosquito is not just an environmental question but also an ethical one! Join us to discover more of the things that connect humans and animals and that teach us to walk a mile in each other's...paws.
Syllabus available upon request.

Effective Communication and Agression Avoidance in Animals

When humans say someone is being an "animal," it is intended as an insult but we humans are really far more aggressive than our non-human cousins. After all, we are super predators! Agression has a very high cost in the animal world so animals engage in many fascinating behaviors to avoid it. Could we learn from them about how to curb our agression and get along better? Using images, video, the latest scientific research and open discussion, this course looks at several examples of effective communication and agression avoidance in the animal kingdom and reviews our past and modern history as super predators. 
Syllabus available upon request.

Animal Welfare Practicum

A practicum is a hands-on course, typically involving many/all aspects of a concrete project. Many interesting life questions and issues are addressed with this type of course, including ethical questions about the needs and treatment of fellow beings; the use of math theorems to calculate design measurements; basic accounting and budgeting; and practical construction experience. Past practica have included:  1) Research of the nutritional, habitat and welfare needs of a flock of egg-laying chickens; Design and planning (including constraints); Materials research and budgeting; and Construction of the chicken coop, 2) Research of the nutritional, habitat and welfare needs of hamsters; Design, planning (including constraints) and budgeting of the ideal hamster habitat; Construction of the hamster habitat, etc. 
Beyond the hands-on fun, this course offers lessons in responsibility, the welfare of others, and budget and life constraints.

Be Safe with Animals

Research shows that most dog bites on children come from family or neigborhood (known) pets. Why is this? Mainly because of miscommunication and lack of education on how to be around pets. Using images, video and open discussion, this course for young children is built on the basics of understanding, respect and tolerance taught in the Inter-Species Communication class but is more manageable for little kids. It introduces several types of animals that are kept as pets and explains the difference between household, farm and exotic pets. The focus is on understanding the needs and behavior of each different animal, fostering a sense of resposiblity and a focus on safety.  
Syllabus available upon request. 

Languages & Debate

Language is a human being's main communication tool but lessons from animal behavior can be applied even to human language. Teaching with clear body behavior helps students inmerse themselves in languages and in the wonders of civil discourse. And the world could use more of that! Using daily life and examples as a springboard for lessons makes communication a lesson in humanity. All that and a healthy dose of passion for the wonders of words, their history and evolution, makes languages and debate fun!

Classes are available in Spanish from beginners to advanced (K-12 and adults), and in French from beginners to intermediate (K-12 and adults).

Latin is also offered at beginner and advanced beginner levels, for middle and high school students, and is taught using modern texts like Olivia the Pig, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Hobbit and other student favorites.  

Debate is offered in two courses for middle school through high school students: Intro. to Debate, and Debate II: the Lincoln Douglas Format. All debate classes stress civil discourse, effective communication, body language and fact-based research.

Current events, books, movies and music that the students already connect to are used in all classes to engage the students.

Arts and Crafts

The language of art is one of wonder, unity and freedom of expression. Students frequently hear that they are not good at art and that should never happen; art is everywhere, it is in everything, and everybody is an artist. Art is a communication tool that breaks barriers between people and within ourselves.

Classes available in the visual arts involve theory and hands-on projects and include:

The Language of Art, an exploration of how art communicates through colors, shapes, composition and media.

Craft in a Day, a confidence-building class that allows students to be proud of one finished work in each class.

Open Studio, which allows students to engage with a variety of natural and found/recycled materials to produce a project in a free-flowing, open, collaborative environment where all creations are considered art and where communication is fluid.