Free ethics teacher training will be available in Ourimbah on the last weekend in February. Ethics teachers are members of the public who receive free training to be able to give a class of children a chance to learn decision-making skills that will help them today and prepare them for tomorrow.
Ethics classes are free for children in public primary schools across NSW. Volunteers are taught to facilitate the classes using a curriculum developed by philosophy and education specialist, Dr Sue Knight, and the not-for-profit organisation, Primary Ethics. Primary Ethics also coordinates volunteer training and provides ongoing support to schools and volunteers. There are 25 schools on the Central Coast that ran ethics classes in 2017, with more planned to start this year. The classes are an alternative to non-scripture, a regular time for children to reflect on ethical issues and work together to build understanding and solutions. Lessons use stories and questions to encourage curiosity and discussion. For example, topics from the kindergarten curriculum include “Doing harm without meaning to” and “Telling on someone”.
Older years discuss topics including being greedy, stealing and voting. Altogether, there are 79 topics, all reviewed by the Department of Education, that encourage children to think deeply and well about questions to which there are no simple answers. Mr Brett Haydon offered to get the ethics program started in 2017 at his son’s school at The Entrance. After teaching for one year, he is set to start up again in 2018, both at The Entrance and also at Killarney Vale Public School. “I got into it just to get involved in my son’s school, but once I did the training and started the classes, I realised that it was actually going to transform my life as well,” Mr Haydon said. “I work full-time with computers and I found that it’s being incredibly helpful to me applying the skills I’ve learned to my workplace, managing projects and applying those facilitation skills. “The highlight of my week is going in and teaching my ethics class,” said Mr Haydon. More volunteers are sought for The Entrance and other nearby schools.
Source: Media release, Feb 2 Heidi McElnea, Primary Ethics