Project B.A.R.K. (Be Aware, Responsible, and Kind) Classroom Visits & Field Trips

For over two decades, a critical component of Charleston Animal Society’s mission has been providing compassion-based opportunities to support both teachers and students throughout the Lowcountry. These programs incorporate social-emotional learning themes into each lesson and are highly effective due to their unique ability to include animals. 

Our lessons are tailored to your students to help build character, kindness, and animal knowledge. Choose from a list of single sessions, pick a package of multiple visits, or combine your classroom lessons with a trip to the shelter to see our life-saving efforts in action!  No matter which lesson or package you choose, our humane educators will always be accompanied by an ambassador animal to help strengthen the impact of our visit, as children are naturally drawn to animals. These programs are designed for grades 2 and up.  

See below for classroom program details. Scholarship information is available upon booking.

Program Options:

  • Single Classroom Visit ($100*) 
    • 30-45 minute interactive lesson
    • 30 students max 
    • Animal ambassador visitor
    • Extension activities and trinkets provided
  •  B.A.R.K Classroom Bundle ($325*)
    • 4 compassion-based lessons 
    • 30 students max
    • Animal ambassador visitor
    • Extension activities and trinkets provided
  • Virtual Field Trip ($40 per session)
    • 30-45 minutes
    • No max. number of students 
    • See behind-the-scenes into exclusive areas such as the Puppy Pod, Kitten ICU, and Surgery Clinic
  • Shelter Field Trip ($5 per student)
    • 1.5 hours
    • 45 students max
    • Interactive components include tour, service-learning, and animal time
      • More advanced options available upon request
    • We require 1 chaperone per 15-20 students, with a maximum of 5 total chaperones.  Chaperones are not permitted to bring siblings of students attending.
    • Each child attending is required to bring a signed permission slip.
    • Extension activities and trinkets provided

* Additional mileage fees may apply:

  • 0-30 miles: Free
  • 31-45 miles: $15
  • 45-60 miles: $20
  • 61-75 miles: $30
  • 76-90 miles: $40
  • Over 90 miles: .62 cents per mile

Please fill out the form below to request a program. An education team member will be in touch shortly to assist you with scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are some examples of lesson topics?

Lessons are designed with your students’ needs in mind!  We are constantly creating new curriculum, and have listed some of our most popular lessons below.  

Pet Care/Pet Needs

  • Students will get a hands-on opportunity to discuss the basic needs and care we should give our pets to allow them to live a happier and healthier life.

Compassion Heroes

  • Compassion is an action word!  Students will learn how to turn their empathy into actions that can help both people and animals.

Food for Thought

  • Students will learn how to determine what a healthy weight is for cats and dogs.  They will also learn about safe and unsafe foods for our pets through an interactive exercise.

Puppies and Kittens- Oh My!

  • Students will learn about the pet overpopulation crisis facing our nation, and the roles that shelters play in helping the problem.  Each student will be provided with a free spay/neuter voucher for their pet.

Anti-Bullying/Discrimination

  • Students will learn what it means to discriminate against another, and how that relates to the way they treat certain animals and each other.

Adopt, Don’t Shop

  • Students will learn how an animal shelter works and the role it plays in providing for the animals in the community.  They will also learn the value in adopting a pet from a shelter instead of purchasing one from a pet store, breeder, etc.

Future Vets

  • In this hands-on interactive lesson, students will get to become veterinarians for the day!  They will use both a real and stuffed dog to test out multiple vet tools and learn about how to keep pets healthy through medicine and examinations.

Helping Hands

  • So how can kids help animals in the community?  We explain what kids can do to help, and also bring along supplies to make a craft or enrichment for our animals back at the shelter.

Pet Safety/Bite Prevention

  • Students will learn how to read body language and ensure that their interactions with animals are always handled in the safest way possible.

Wild About Animals

  • Curious about animals other than the ones we keep as pets?  Choose to learn more about farm animals, local wildlife found in your backyard, or even the animals we see in the zoo!

Earth Protectors

  • This lesson explores the ties between humans, animals, and the environment.  Learn ways to make a positive impact on the Earth, and even make a take-home craft!

Careers with Critters

  • When most kids think about working with animals, they usually only think of becoming a veterinarian.  This interactive lesson will discuss veterinary medicine, but also introduce students to the wide range of career opportunities within the animal welfare field.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

  • Teamwork has never been this much fun!  Students will work together to accomplish a goal while practicing their listening and communication skills.

Dog’s Best Friend

  • Students will learn how to identify and recognize qualities of a good friend to both their peers and to animals.

In Their Shoes

  • Empathy is a critical skill!  Through perspective-taking activities, students will learn what it is like to place themselves in someone else’s shoes.  

What is included in the cost of your programs?

Includes: 

  • Transportation
  • Animal care
  • Supplies and materials: worksheets, books, trinkets, treats
  • Time: curriculum development and facilitation

Are scholarships available?

Scholarships are available based on the percentage of free and reduced lunches (FRL). Schools with 85% or higher FRL will automatically be awarded a full scholarship. Schools with 40-84% FRL will be given the same discount based on the percentage of free and reduced lunches. Percentages are based on the most recent data collected by the South Carolina Department of Education.  All scholarship recipients are required to provide feedback in a post-program survey.  To apply, please fill out necessary information when submitting the program request below. For questions about scholarships please contact ddaltorio@charlestonanimalsociety.org

What is the benefit of the Project B.A.R.K. Bundle?

Multiple classroom visits allow CAS educators to build deeper relationships and establish rapport with students. The cumulative lessons allow for extended learning opportunities, enhanced knowledge gained, and the ability to enhance compassion and empathy skills.  The B.A.R.K. Bundle also provides opportunities for mixed-method teaching including videos, stories, hands-on exercises, role-playing, crafts, and games.

What species of animals will children interact with?

For classroom visits, CAS educators will bring one animal ambassador per lesson.  For shelter field trips, students will get the opportunity to interact with multiple species of animals each visit.

Our most frequent classroom visitors are dogs, however other species such as bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs, and cats may be included depending upon shelter population and animal availability.  

All animals will have been medically and behaviorally approved prior to interacting with children.

What are the benefits of having an animal in the classroom?

Animals have the unique ability to create a safe space where children can feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings.  Research shows that animals have positive impacts on both mental health and physical health, and thus can allow for greater learning opportunities.

What are the learning outcomes associated with Project BARK programming?

  • Build self-esteem & self-confidence
  • Develop compassion & empathy
  • Increase cognitive development
  • Improve relationship-building & social skills
  • Minimize stress & anxiety
  • Expand animal knowledge
  • Increase safety during animal interactions

What SEL/Second Step components are included in the Project BARK programming?

We strive to include multiple SEL themes into each individual lesson.  Examples include: Responsibility, Self Management, Goal Setting, Relationship Skills, Self-Awareness, Compassion, Empathy, Identifying Emotions, Diversity, Respect, Activism, Inclusion, Kindness, and Social Awareness.

What are people saying about Project B.A.R.K.?

Program effectiveness has been measured through pre and post tests, student journals, and teacher surveys.  Results have shown an increase in knowledge, as well positive reviews from teachers highlighting the mental benefits to their students.  See examples below.

“Our first grade students LOVED the virtual program through the Charleston Animal Society! The program is extremely well organized with multiple opportunities to see the animals up close and personal! The students smiled and cheered as they watched the cats, bunnies, gerbils, and puppies play. I highly recommend a virtual visit with the Charleston Animal Society.” 

– 1st grade teacher, Ashley Hall

“This trip has dramatically impacted the lives of my scholars. For some students, this

was their very first visit to an animal shelter. We discussed the fact that the animals were there waiting for a family to adopt them. The children showed compassion to the animals. They understood their plight and wanted to show kindness and concern.”

-Mary Ford Field Trip 

“This lesson fits in perfectly with our Second Step (social-emotional learning) program.  We talk about all the same themes of kindness, empathy for others, etc.  It’s great for the students to see connections outside of school for these topics, so it helps students see connections outside of school for these topics, so it helps students see what we talk about inside the classroom reaches far beyond the walls of schools.  Also I love the human impact component of this lesson and the environmental clean up clip.  It fits perfectly with one of our 5th grade science standards:  How do humans positively and negatively impact the earth?” 

– 5th grade teacher, Stiles Point Elementary

“Before the program started, I thought the kids were just going to learn about pets and how to take care of pets, and it’s really so much more than that.  I feel like that part is almost a small part of it because the overarching theme is compassion.  And all of the lessons and activities tie back to not just how people should treat animals but how people should treat people.”

– 3rd grade teacher, St. James Santee Elementary

What are additional ways my students can help the animals?

Thank you so much for instilling compassion in your students!  If you would like to do a donation drive or make items for the animals, a Charleston Animal Society staff member would be happy to provide you with further guidance.  For wishlist information and activity instructions, please contact Kylie at kwiest@charlestonanimalsociety.org.

Additional questions? Contact De Daltorio at ddaltorio@charlestonanimalsociety.org