Teaching ethics at Gerringong PS

A call is out for volunteers to be trained as teachers for Primary Ethics classes at Gerringong Public School, which are run on Wednesday mornings as an alternative to Religious Education (SRE).

“Primary school has never been just a place for learning how to read and write. It is where children can learn the skills they need to get ready for life in a bigger world,” says Carrie Schulman, ethics co-ordinator and volunteer.

“We hear children say that ethics classes help with self-confidence, friendship building and the ability to imagine how other people feel in certain situations.”

Primary Ethics is a unique program in which parent and community volunteers, using poems, stories, group work and activities, teach skills such as ethical reasoning, critical thinking and respectful discussion.

Children learn to listen to each other, voice opinions and give reasons, build on each other’s ideas and remain curious and open-minded. They also learn to disagree respectfully, not to accept peer pressure and to ultimately think things through, in order to make well-reasoned decisions.

The topics covered in Ethics in the current term are:
Making things up, being cross and hurting someone
Showing off, telling on someone and finding reasons
Stage 1 (years 1 & 2)
Courage or being brave
Forgiving and being forgiven
Another kind of courage
Coming to grips with deductive reasoning
Stage 2 (years 3 & 4)

Should we keep animals in captivity? Reasoning for and against
Imagining how others feel – example: child labourers
Understanding diversity.

Online resources are available for parents to continue these discussions at home.

Early 2020, the school attracted a Kindergarten class of 22 students and also classes for Years 1 to 4. COVID 19 suspended lessons in March, but the teaching team has been able to return for all of term 3 and 4.

In 2021, Ethics classes will be offered to all years, with two Kindergarten classes and then through to Year 6.

All students who are currently in Ethics will be carried forward into next year’s classes and any students previously on a waiting list or could not be accommodated are encouraged to re-register for Ethics in 2021.

Contact Carrie at gerringongethicscoordinator@gmail.com if you would like to join the team. For more information about the program visit primaryethics.com.au/volunteer/ethics-teacher/

by Perrie Croshaw

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