Information for parents and carers

Welcome to the info hub for parents and carers of students in ethics class.

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Primary Ethics offers a unique program which challenges children to work with their classmates to tackle ethical dilemmas. The program enables parent and community volunteers to be trained as facilitators to provide this opportunity for children in their local schools. Ethics education increases the richness of the public school offering and allows community members to make a real contribution to schools.

Children say they enjoy ethics classes as it is a space to:

  • raise opinions without being judged
  • hear and consider the opinions of others
  • think things through and develop reasoning and decision making skills.

We also hear children say that ethics classes helps with their self confidence, friendship building, and the ability to imagine how other people feel in certain situations. Children regularly say the skills they develop in ethics help them to problem solve in their everyday lives.

Many also say that they really enjoy talking about the topics that they cover in ethics classes with their families. Ask your children open-ended questions to help encourage discussion, such as:

  • what stories did you hear in ethics class today?
  • what different ideas did you hear?
  • did anyone give a reason or point of view that you hadn’t thought of?
  • did anyone change their mind?

What topics are my children discussing in ethics classes?

Choose your child’s stage from the list below and click through to see what topics they are exploring in ethics class this term. You’ll also find some links to background reading/viewing relevant to the topic as well as some activities you can do to keep the discussions going at home.

Early Stage 1 (kindergarten)   View 2017 topics 1 – 6     

Stage 1 (years 1 & 2)  View 2017 topics 1 – 6    

Stage 2 (years 3 & 4)  View 2017 topics 1 – 6

Stage  3 (years 5 & 6) View 2017 topics 1 – 6               

Resources for parents and carers

If you’re new to the concepts behind philosophical ethics, this short video is a great place to start.

Primary Ethics curriculum objectives

The approach taken by Primary Ethics is that ethical exploration in the classroom is best done through dialogue and discussion – a tradition of philosophical inquiry that goes right back to Socrates and which is tied to the substantive idea of living an ‘examined life’. This approach has significant social benefits. By learning to think about ethical matters together and through the give-and-take of reasoned argument, students will learn to consider other people’s points of view and to be sincere, reasonable and respectful in dealing with their differences and disagreements. Read more about the objectives.

Primary Ethics curriculum overview

Volunteer ethics teachers use detailed lesson materials to deliver a curriculum of 79 topics. Read about the focus for each stage and see all the curriculum topics here.

Further reading

What is ethics? This article from the Ethics Centre gives a good overview of how ethics is relevant in our every day lives.

Teaching kids philosophy makes them smarter in math and English was published in Quartz magazine: “Nine- and 10-year-old children in England who participated in a philosophy class once a week over the course of a year significantly boosted their math and literacy skills.”