Funkstown school helps animals

Lesson plans include animal-related issues

items collected

April 16, 2010
  • From left, the animal shelter's Brian Filon, Funkstown School For Early Childhood Education Principal Susan Burger and Filon's dog, Rueben.
Submitted photo,

The Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education has been celebrating a "Be Kind to Animals Month" that includes a collection drive for the Humane Society of Washington County and other animal-themed activities and lessons.

The first-time event has been met with enthusiasm by both students and teachers.

"We've basically been focusing on how we help animals and how animals help us," Principal Susan Burger said.

Many lesson plans have been designed featuring animals, such as math problems and art classes focused on drawing furry friends.

As donations are collected, students will track the progress and outcome on a graph.

"We really wanted a way to celebrate learning and the teachers thought that focusing on animals would be a great way to get kids engaged," Burger said. "We've had a bulletin board where kids and teachers can post photos of their pets and that's very popular, of course," she said.

Classes have also participated in read-alouds of both fiction and non-fiction books with animals as the subject matter, including excerpts from the popular book "Marley & Me."


"The kids were asked to write an essay on whether they would want a dog like Marley or not as a pet," Burger said. "They were very excited about the assignment."

Students were also treated to a humane education presentation by Margaret Becker and Brian Filon from the animal shelter on how to be a responsible pet caretaker and interact with animals. They were accompanied by Filon's dog Reuben, who was adopted from the shelter.

Paul Miller, the shelter's executive director, thinks that the school's mission is admirable.

"Teaching the students at this young age will help them develop respect and compassion for animals and inspire them to share what they've learned with their parents and other members of the community," he said.

The Humane Society is at 13011 Maugansville Road in Hagerstown. Call 301-733-2060 or go to for information on animal-related issues, directions to the shelter and information about programs and services.

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