Popularity of ethics classes means more teachers needed

As the Coordinator for Primary Ethics at Kiama Public School, Fiona Stewart is keen to get more volunteers to join her crew to cope with the demand for the classes.

“The Primary Ethics program at Kiama Public School has been running very successfully over the past years thanks to our dedicated team of volunteer teachers,” says Fiona.

“In 2018 we have been running 13 classes a week each Wednesday, from
Kindergarten right through to Year 6.

“However the demand for our classes very high. We are currently seeking applications from the Kiama Community to volunteer to teach a class of primary students once a week in the 2019 school year, to avoid waitlists for our students.”

Ethics classes are discussion-based and are facilitated by trained volunteer teachers.

Students are encouraged to ask questions, be curious, and share their own ideas. In doing so, they learn the skills to make well-reasoned decisions about ethical issues.

Ethics classes are available for students who would normally attend ‘non-scripture’ during the Special Religious Education (SRE/SEE or ‘scripture’) timeslot.

In the classes, children explore a range of stories and scenarios, discussing what we ought to do, how we ought to live, the kind of society we should have and what kind of person each of us should strive to be.

“I have been teaching Ethics classes for the past two years at Kiama Public and it is a pleasure and an honour for me to go in every week and listen to my students share their ideas with each other, use their reasoning and respectfully agree and disagree with one another on topics that may at times be very ‘grey’.

“I have noticed that children who attend Ethics classes quickly gain these important skills, which even many adults lack, and it gives me such hope for the future that is ultimately in their hands.

“I love that in our classes there is no right or wrong but that everyone is encouraged to ask themselves what they believe about a topic (for example laziness, forgiveness or cheating) and then to give their reasons for this.

“In my time I have witnessed that the beauty of a child’s nature is that there is an innate tolerance and moral compass which blossoms in a forum such as this.”

A curriculum has been especially written for Primary Ethics, comprising a wide range of topics that primary-aged children find interesting. Students learn to think about these ethical matters together and engage in the give-and-take of reasoned argument.

This process allows children to properly consider other people’s points of view and to be sincere, reasonable and listen respectfully in dealing with their differences and disagreements.

Parents, grandparents and members of the general community are all invited to apply to be ethics teachers through the approved charity, Primary Ethics. No experience is needed, as training and support is provided.

The time commitment is 1-2 hours a week.

“The curriculum is fixed so you do not need to plan lessons. The thorough training you receive will ensure you feel confident in the classroom, even if you think this is something you may find challenging,” says Fiona.

“Teaching Ethics at our local school is a wonderfully rewarding and fulfilling way to support young people in our community.”

Details: To find out at: www.primaryethics.com.au or contact Fiona via kiama.ethics@gmail.com or on 0416987414
with any questions

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