The old days when every State school student attended religion classes at least once a week are long gone.
A handful of years ago the then State government introduced ethics classes into public schools for students who did not attend scripture or religious classes.
Primary Ethics, a not-for-profit organisation, was appointed to design the curriculum and deliver classes that were suitable for students from kindergarten to Year 6.
Classes are inquiry based and children use dialogue and discussion to learn how to think about ethical matters through the give-and-take of reasoned argument.
Classes are delivered by trained, and vetted volunteers. Since the introduction of this curriculum, philosophic ethics classes have grown in popularity.
Primary Ethics local regional manager, Naomi Freuden, said classes provided children with a lifelong capacity to make ethical judgements and to act reasonably and responsibly.
Early next month Primary Ethics is holding teacher training in Port Macquarie to support new ethics classes in the region.
Volunteers are needed in the Manning and Great Lakes regions so children can have the opportunity to attend ethics classes.
Volunteer ethics teachers do not need a background in teaching or ethics, just a willingness to learn how to deliver classes.
In ethics classes children discuss a wide variety of scenarios and stories, learning how to think about ethical matters through the give-and- take of reasoned argument.
They are encouraged to think about the impact of their actions, not just on the people close to them, but also on the broader community.
“Ethics classes are an opportunity for children to develop skills in collaborative inquiry, logical reasoning, critical thinking, respectful disagreement, listening and self-expression.”
Ms Frueden became a volunteer with this year when her son started kindergarten at Pacific Palms Public School.
“I was really keen for our son to participate in ethics at school once I saw the curriculum on the website,” she said.
“Not only would it be fun, but also the confidence and skills that the kids develop in ethics classes is invaluable.
For more information in volunteering to be a local Primary Ethics teacher you should visit the Primary Ethics website at http://www.primaryethics.com.au.