A program which is helping children develop critical thinking skills needs more volunteers to facilitate classes.
Primary Ethics is an independent not-for-profit organisation which was established in 2010 to provide young people with the space to explore ethical dilemmas.
A new ethics program has recently been launched at Lake Cathie Public School. The program is also available at other schools including Port Macquarie, Hastings, Tacking Point, Beechwood, Wauchope and Laurieton.
A spokesperson for Primary Ethics said ethics teachers can be parents, grandparents and community members who have an hour a week to spare to facilitate an ethics class at their local primary school.
Mother and full time midwife Claire Welsh is one of the volunteers who helped to launch the program at Lake Cathie in 2018.
“I volunteer because I believe it’s such a good idea to teach children reasoning skills from an early age,” she said.
“I really enjoy it too - I love hearing their minds whirring away.”
Ethics volunteer Heidi McElnea said classes are available for students who would normally attend ‘non-scripture’ during the Special Religious Education timeslot.
“For many children the alternative is sitting in the library and colouring in,” she said.
“In ethics classes children explore a range of stories and scenarios.
“These discuss 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.
“There is age appropriate curriculum for children right through to year 6, all reviewed by the Department of Education.”
Heidi said she has received feedback from parents that they value their children having the experience of looking at different points of view and thinking things through.
“It’s surprising the depth of thinking that children display in an ethics class,” she said.
The Primary Ethics program uses a unique, approved curriculum that contains stories and questions which volunteers use to facilitate the weekly discussions.
Ethics teacher training is in Coffs Harbour and Newcastle twice a year.
To find out more or to apply please visit primaryethics.com.au/volunteer