Children’s education

Caring for Life Education for children (CFL) is ACTAsia’s unique six-year curriculum for all primary school years.

It encompasses social welfare and citizenship, animal welfare, and environmental issues, and recognises the interdependence of all living things.

CFL for children was developed from the United Nationals Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Four Pillars of Education by Nick Leney, and is a foundation course in Learning to Live Together. It fits into the broader discipline of humane education, and supports the mandatory Chinese curriculum for moral and quality education, and has been welcomed by education authorities and teachers since it was piloted in 2012. Although created specifically for primary schools in China, with cultural adaptation CFL can be used as a foundation for education across the world.

Children learn to interact safely and respectfully with animals through CFL

Caring for Life for children works with teachers and education authorities to help to address several problems across society in China. In recent decades, the decline of the countryside and boom of urban sprawl has led to a number of changes in the lives of all classes of families. And it’s children who bear the brunt. By helping children learn to Care for Life, we’re supporting them to help themselves.

The one-child policy that came into force in 1979 led to a recognised condition that has become known as Little Emperor Syndrome. It results from the lavishing of attention and consumer goods onto an only child, who has no healthy competition from siblings. Allowed to have their own way, never learning to share without a fuss, Little Emperors are noted for having trouble building close relationships. Now that many are parents themselves, the problem is passed to the next generation.

Our Little Vets programme brings together professional veterinarians and children, to help children understand the importance of welfare for all sentient species. You can read more about our workshops with animals, vets, parents and teachers here.

At the other extreme, 61 million left-behind children live in remote rural China without their parents to care for them at all. They’ve moved to developing urban areas to work, and left their children behind with relatives or neighbours, or even alone as primary-age siblings, to look after each other. CFL plays a key role in promoting the moral guidance necessary for the healthy social development of these deprived children.

The impact of CFL is closely monitored and independently evaluated through scientific analysis by Dr William Samuels, and the results shared with the Chinese education authorities. Outcomes repeatedly show positive behaviour changes in children after a course of CFL Education.

By the end of 2019, Caring for Life Education for children:

  • has been taught to to 92,500 children
  • through 148 schools
  • more than 50 community centres
  • 10 summer camps
  • by almost 3,200 CFL educators.

In the next five years, we hope to extend our reach to more than 150,000 children in China, through thousands of trained teachers.

You can hear what our CEO, Pei Su, has to say about our Caring for Life Education programme here…

Caring for Life for children encourages collaboration among children in the classroom

Children who live in cities experience nature through CFL

Children are taught about the needs and welfare of companion animals