PrimaryEthics@Home for Parents and Carers | October 2018

Welcome to term 4, and to PrimaryEthics@Home! This October edition covers a selection of topics taught in ethics classes in terms 3 and 4.

Visit the parents and carers hub for more about the program.


Kindergarten

Intentions and knowledge: what might a whale know?

This topic begins with a humorous Norwegian folk tale that builds on previous discussions about the difference between doing something ‘on purpose’, and doing something ‘by accident’. Intention and knowledge form the basis of our discussion about the story of Kio’s Grandfather, who, when at sea, was saved by a whale. Did the whale, Kio wonders, really know what he was doing? …read more

Making things up, being cross and hurting someone

One reason we use meerkats rather than (human) children to explore motives and behaviour is to avoid any awkward situation that can arise if children recognise the described behaviour as fitting that of one or more members of the class. Another reason is that meerkats have complex social structures and communication, and in thinking about ethical issues, it is important that children understand the ways in which they are similar to and different from others – not just to other humans, but to animals as well…read more

 

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Smiling child with missing tooth

Ethics classes at school: Guest post

by Sandra Henri, ethics teacher

For those of you not familiar with Ethics Classes at your local public school, let me rave about them for minute. Ethics is offered as one of the scripture options, yet don’t let this fool you into thinking its a religious vs non-religious thing.

Ethics is actually about teaching critical thinking skills, in a thought provoking, non-judgement way. Each week, moral stories are discussed, and students are encouraged to consider ‘why’ they hold this opinion, and to see the story from various angles. We have a strict rule that there are to be no put-downs, and differences of opinion will be respected. This gives students an opportunity to speak out against the crowd, and think more deeply about why they might choose to act in a particular way. It teaches children to make decisions based on their own inner moral code, rather than blindly following social norms. We rarely reach a conclusion in these classes, the aim is to cultivate the thinking process.

Some examples of topics include;

  • How do we display friendship?
  • Do we stereotype without realising it?
  • Would you share with your friends vs people you don’t know?
  • Should animals be kept in captivity?
  • What is inner and outer beauty, which do you value more?
  • How can we be a conscious consumer?

Read more about ethics classes here.

I believe critical thinking is an invaluable life skill, that I wish was part of the regular curriculum! It is super rewarding hearing their wisdom expressed with so much conviction (and cuteness), and it feels like you are helping grow little activists. If you have time, I can highly recommend becoming a volunteer ethics teacher, or at the very least, jump on this free resource and get your kids involved.

Ethics classes at school first appeared on Sandra’s blog Less Stuff More Meaning.

Four reasons why ethics teachers won’t give your child a treat this Easter

Ethics classes are run in NSW public schools by parents, grandparents and other trained volunteers from the school community. The classes are held in the Special Religious Education/ Special Education in Ethics timeslot, and exist as a valuable learning opportunity for children whose parents have opted them out of SRE.

In the lead up to Easter, we sometimes hear that it’s not fair that children in ethics class miss out on the chocolate eggs and other Easter-themed treats that are handed out in some of the religious instruction classes.

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Out now: PrimaryEthics@Home

For parents and carers | First edition | March 2017

2 kidsWelcome to PrimaryEthics@Home! This first edition for 2017 introduces the topics covered in ethics classes in term 1, plus gives background reading and activities designed to help further ethical discussion with your children at home.

Every day parents, families and teachers help children form their own opinions about ethical issues. Other factors, like media and culture, have an influence too. In ethics classes, children can articulate their ideas and explore ethical issues together by listening to each other, discussing respectfully and applying critical thinking skills like using reason and evidence and evaluating arguments.

Our skills based program is designed to support the important work of parents and teachers by giving children the confidence and skills to talk about ethical issues with those around them. These are important life-long skills aimed at helping children make well considered decisions rather than acting out of habit or peer pressure.

Continue reading primaryethics@home.