Animal Welfare Association’s new-and-improved Animal Academy is here! Beginning in the fall of 2023, this program fills a growing need in the community to bring homeschoolers out into new environments to learn, socialize, and strengthen their animal literacy and empathy.

Join the Academy!

Sign your student up for a learning experience they'll never forget. Choose from one or all of our upcoming class sessions covering a range of topics sure to pique their interest.

What is the Animal Academy?

The Animal Academy program is a chance for homeschoolers ages 8-17 to engage in experiences unlike any found in a traditional school environment or home classroom.

Each 90-minute session is taught by trained instructors from Animal Welfare Association’s Education department. They include hands-on lessons where students will be given the tools, materials and detailed instruction to learn about unique areas of animal sciences, welfare, conservation and more.

The curriculum includes lessons on:

  • Veterinary medicine
  • Animal shelters
  • Animal handling
  • ecosystems, food chains and symbiotic relationships
  • Careers working with animals
  • and much more!

Activities will be STEAM-focused and designed to fit into any homeschool curriculum. Our holistic approach to education sees students work both independently and in group environments, with a focus on promoting active engagement in their learning to deepen their understanding of subject matter.

Open to Students 8-17

Animal Academy is divided into 2 age groups: Juniors (ages 8-12) and Seniors (ages 13-17) that learn similar topics with lessons tailored to their age.

Cooperative, Engaging Lessons

Each lesson will encourage active engagement and cooperation to better develop topic understanding and social skills for each student.

Hands-On Learning

Lessons will see students interacting with animals, using real-world equipment, viewing surgeries and more to promote tactile, multi-sensory learning.

Upcoming Animal Academy Classes

Animal Academy lessons are offered on two dates for both age groups.

All classes are $10/ student and 90 minutes in length unless otherwise noted.

Questions? Check out our FAQ

Juniors: 11:30-1:00pm

Seniors: 1:30-3:00pm

Baby Season

4/4/24 & 4/10/24

Prepare for baby season by learning what to do and what not to do if you find babies “in the wild” this spring. We will discover who are the best parents in the animal kingdom (hint: it may not be who you think!) and discuss how we can be the best pet parents.

Careers in Animal Industries

5/8/24 & 5/9/24

So you want to work with animals? Did you know there are at least 35 different careers that work with animals? This class is all about how we can decide what may be the best fit for us, and how we can work toward careers working with animals.

Want a Private Lesson?

Groups of 10 or more can now sign up for private Animal Academy sessions! Groups can consist of all ages and have a choice of topics.

Meet the Instructor

Alicia Haley

AWA Education Manager

Alicia Haley has over 4 years of animal experience and over 3 years of informal education experience. As AWA's Education Manager, she works to make every lesson engaging and exciting. Alicia’s favorite part about her role at AWA is supporting the pet loving community and inspiring the next generation of animal advocates.

She has two rescue pets: Ripley and a tri-pawed, Hazel, an AWA alum.

Animal Academy FAQ

Have another question? Interested in booking a private group class? Contact our Education Department at Education@awanj.org

Is there a dress code?
Students can dress comfortably but must wear closed toed shoes. Please note kids will be moving, interacting with animals, doing crafts, and sometimes spending some time outdoors.
What is the cancellation policy?
A full refund will be given if cancelled no later than 4 weeks prior to the selected start date. A 50% refund will be given if cancelled no later than 2 weeks prior.
Why are topics the same? What's the difference between age groups?
While we find these to be the most important topics to cover, each age group’s lesson will be tailored to include appropriate activities and subject matter.
Can I bring a group?
Groups of 10 or more can book private classes by emailing education@awanj.org. These can consist of all ages.
What if I have students in both age groups?
Groups of 10 or more can book private classes by emailing education@awanj.org. These can consist of all ages.
Can parents stay for class?
Yes, parents can choose to either drop off or stay. If you plan to stay, please email education@awanj.org so that we can have an accurate headcount.
Can you accommodate special needs students?
Of course! We’re always happy to meet the needs of our guests.
Please contact our Education Department to let us know how we can provide an accessible experience for all.
What if a child has allergies?
Please alert us of any dog or cat allergies, as lessons may require proximity to these animals and their spaces.
Please note we also use peanut butter throughout the facility.