Info for parents and carers

Welcome to PrimaryEthics@Home – background information on ethics classes as well as topics and activities designed to generate more ethical discussions at your dinner table!

Make sure you’re subscribed to the PrimaryEthics@Home email, which gives you an update on which topics your child is currently discussing in ethics class. Read the term 2 (May) edition here.

Early Stage 1 (kindergarten)   View 2018 topics 1 – 3     

Stage 1 (years 1 & 2)  View 2018 topics 1 – 3    

Stage 2 (years 3 & 4)  View 2018 topics 1 – 3

Stage  3 (years 5 & 6) View 2018 topics 1 – 3 

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Background to ethics classes

Our skills based program is designed to support the important work of parents, carers and teachers by giving children the confidence and skills to talk about ethical issues with those around them, to question what they see and read, to think things through and seek and evaluate reasons.

These important life-long skills aimed at helping children make well considered decisions rather than acting out of habit or peer pressure.

Primary Ethics offers a unique program in which parent and community volunteers are to facilitate ethics classes and make a valuable and rewarding 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 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.

How do I get ethics classes started at my school?

Let your school know you’d like to choose ethics classes for your child, and let us know too. Read more

Questions to ask my child

Ethics students often say they like talking to their families about the topics they cover in ethics. In these classes, children are encouraged to be curious, ask lots of questions and think deeply about ethical issues. If you ask them what they learned in ethics class, they may have trouble coming up with a simple answer! Instead, you may find it useful to 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 child discussing in class?

As the year progresses, summaries of the topics will be uploaded to this page. Subscribe to PrimaryEthics@Home to be notified when a new batch of topics is uploaded.

You can view some of last year’s topic summaries here:

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.”