Growing up, I never expected to go to an Ivy League university, like Yale. I certainly never expected to give a speech at one, let alone work with them on an educational curriculum. But this past year, both happened.

Since the launch of the Mutt-i-grees curriculum the past year in more than 1,300 schools around the nation, parents, students and teachers alike have noticed a positive effect in the classroom.

The Mutt-i-grees curriculum, which is in collaboration with the Pet Savers Foundation, was developed in early 2009 by a school-reform program at the university called Yale 21C. It is changing the face of education by integrating social and emotional learning with humane education in public schools. 

I provided supplemental material to the curriculum with regard to natural pack leadership and instinctual intelligence, two things that I find incredibly important to having balanced dogs and fulfilling lives.

The program is now expanding to more schools across the U.S., with plans to enter high schools in the next phase. If Mutt-i-grees is successful, this program will produce a group of future leaders, teachers, and politicians who are more connected to nature and to each other.

The curriculum in its entirety focuses on teaching self- and social-awareness, relationship skills, and the ability to make ethical decisions that benefit people, animals, and the environment. 

The beginning phase focuses on Pre-K through third grade levels and will utilize stories about shelter dogs and a Mutt-i-grees puppet in lesson plans. It incorporates a combined classroom and experiential learning environment with several planned trips to local shelters.

My theory is this – by visiting dog shelters through the Mutt-i-grees program, kids will learn about care and compassion. This month, the Mutt-i-grees program is excited to announce the Mutt-i-grees America Adopts PSA Contest. Now until September 30, Pre-K, Kindergarten and Grade 1-6 schools across America will have the opportunity to win a $10,000 grant and the chance to meet me at the winning school.

Eligible schools can submit a Mutt-i-grees video or audio Public Service Announcement (PSA) that convinces Americans to adopt pets from their local shelters. This project is exactly what the Mutt-i-grees program is all about. It is meant to help children learn self- and social-awareness and make ethical decisions that benefit people, animals, and the environment. By getting them to help raise awareness in a creative way about the growing animal population, they are both learning how to be involved in their community and how to take action.

CESAR MILLAN is a best-selling author and star of the hit TV show “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan,” airing on Nat Geo WILD in the U.S. and over 100 countries internationally. He is President of The Millan Foundation, a non-profit organization that is credited with re-homing and rehabilitating thousands of dogs across the world.Learn more about Cesar and read his latest news and tips by visiting www.CesarsWay.com.

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