Since our early years as this community’s safe haven for stray and unwanted animals, PHS/SPCA has emphasized education. In fact, we were among the first humane societies, nationwide, to establish a humane education program and hire staff specifically for this vital work. While our Humane Education Department directs and delivers a range of programs, we consider employees from all departments - adoption counselors, officers, behaviorists and veterinarians - to be educators. Please take a minute to learn about our offerings.
To sign up or request more information about any of the following programs,
PHS/SPCA will send a humane educator to schools within San Mateo County for a grade-appropriate talk (generally Kg-6th grade). Presentations focus either on the basic needs of companion animals or on local wildlife. There is a suggested donation of $20. Companion animal speakers bring a well-behaved dog along. Classroom presentations must be arranged in advance, and teachers are provided with supplemental activity sheets for their students.
The Humane Education Department offers tours of the Burlingame center for groups who are interested in learning about our work with animals. Up to 24 people at a time (including adults for children’s groups) can be accommodated. The tour guide starts with a discussion about our services, the different kinds of animals received, and ways people can help them. A walk-through includes seeing the dogs, cats, small and exotic animals up for adoption that day. We ask for $1 per tour participant. Tours last approximately one hour and are conducted on weekdays between 10:30am and 5:00pm by appointment only.
PEP Talks (Pet Education Program) are adult and family education programs scheduled several times a year. These vary from informative lectures to hands-on classes to drop-in learning events. Upcoming events are featured on our website.
Through this two-hour program, high school students can get an inside look at veterinary medicine in a shelter setting. Participants have the opportunity to hear about the background and experiences of a shelter veterinarian; observe spay/neuter surgeries in progress; take a brief tour of the In-House Clinic and x-ray room; ask the vet questions and find out what kinds of medical conditions we commonly treat. Space is very limited and students must sign up in advance. No charge, however a $15 donation is suggested. Two sessions offered in June and in December.
This experience is specially designed for high school students who want to explore a career in Animal Rescue & Control. Participants have the chance to learn how officers assist both animals and people; find out what skills are essential in this line of work; check out equipment used on the job and hear about actual rescues in our community; get a sense of how evidence is collected for humane investigations; and discover ways teens can help animals too! Space is limited and students must sign up in advance. No charge, however a $15 donation is suggested. A session is offered in May and in October.
For the programs below, please contact:
This afterschool program for 10-12 year-olds is held one Thursday a month, October-May. Students learn about different animal-related topics and about some essential functions of the humane society. The group also completes simple service projects to help the animals. Monthly themes are repeated every program year. There is a $12 fee for each one and a half-hour class and advance registration is required.
Our summer camp is an intensive learning experience for 9-12 year-olds. We emphasize responsible pet care and foster children’s understanding and concern for all species. Guest speakers bring a variety of pets for the campers to meet. Activities include visiting our Wildlife Center, the beginnings of dog training, playing trivia games, and preparing short presentations about companion animals. Four sessions of this weekday camp are offered between late June and mid-August:
A winter mini-camp for 9-12 year-olds interested in learning about pet care and exploring ways to be kind to companion animals. Campers meet a few animal guests, tour the adoption center and make holiday treats. This single day program is offered twice during school break. Enrollment is limited and there is a $45 fee. Please request a flyer and application in the fall.
A class just for 7-8 year-olds! The spring theme is wild babies and includes fun facts about songbirds, rabbits and squirrels. The fall theme is tame babies and includes cool info about kittens, puppies and pocket pets. Kids will find out how young animals are cared for at the humane society and make a treat for them. We’ll play games and do an art project too. There is a $15 fee for each two-hour class and advance registration is required.
Celebrate your child's birthday at our Center for Compassion! We host parties for 7-12 year-olds on select Sunday afternoons. Up to twelve children total can be accommodated. Guests learn a bit about the animals up for adoption, and can help them too by bringing useful items in honor of the birthday child. Parties include a guided tour, animal-related activity, free time for refreshments, meet and greet with a friendly pet, and pet-themed favors for each child guest. The cost is $225 and proceeds support our work for the animals. To request a party consultation, please fill out the form below. Currently booking up to four months in advance.
Students of all ages can learn more about helping animals by reading our Caring for Critters pamphlet. It includes suggestions for fundraising and collecting items to benefit the shelter animals too. Just click on the link to download a copy.
Lucky Me is a charming guide to animal companionship and safety for young children. And the author, Christi Drue Dunlap, is one of our Humane Education volunteers!
For Teachers and Parents
The Empathy Connection is a wonderful booklet on the importance of appreciating how others feel and the human-animal bond.
Seeking ways to teach kindness in the classroom? Get inspired with free lesson plans and project ideas offered through this link.
Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion
Coyote Point Shelter