Primary Ethics is finishing its fourth year at Forbes North Public School.
The program started in Term 3 of 2014 with 6 students 1 teacher and has been a great success with more than 75 students enrolled in the program and now four teachers.
In September this year Forbes Primary Ethics was nominated and won a 2018 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award. The Forbes volunteers couldn’t have been more proud and are truly humbled by this achievement and recognition.
In a single school week, over 40,000 students are taught throughout NSW, over 500 schools now have this wonderful program and more than 2500 volunteers dedicate their time to this worthy cause.
Enquiries are coming from all over the world for the program. Interestingly, High School teachers are already reporting that they can tell if kids have participated in Primary Ethics classes (in a positive way).
Forbes Primary Ethics coordinator Tricia Greenhill said at this stage Forbes North Public was the only Forbes school with the program but many other schools in the region have come on board in recent years including Orange, Bletchington, Bathurst, Cootamundra, Millthorpe, Nashdale, Canowindra and Parkes East just to name a few.
Primary Ethics has been operational in Sydney since November 2010, but has only been in the Central west for about 5 years now and is getting bigger every year.
Primary Ethics is a non-profit organisation authorised by the NSW state government to deliver a philosophy based ethics curriculum, which has been made age appropriate for all primary levels.
Ethics classes are an option for primary school children who do not attend SRE / Scripture and is run by volunteers.
Over the years there has been some issues with regards to SRE (Scripture) and SEE (Ethics) on the NSW Government Schools enrolment form, which now only sees SRE listed as an option. However, if you want your child enrolled in this amazing program it’s a very simple process at Forbes North Public School.
“We have made it as easy as possible,” says Ms Greenhill.
Students learn how to think about ethical issues and form a ‘community of inquiry’ with their peers and talk about subjects such as homelessness, keeping promises and the treatment of living things, not to mention respect, values and the importance of listening to others. They learn how to find and evaluate the morally relevant issues in each topic. “The children seem to love ethics and the different topics that are covered, plus the teachers find it very rewarding”, says Ms Greenhill.
Ms Greenhill said more people were needed to volunteer and train to become Ethics Teachers or Coordinators.
“You don’t need experience as a teacher, but you must be interested in engaging children in ethical discussion and keeping your opinion out of the room,” she says.
Teacher training involves a 2 day course, plus some online courses.
“Teaching ethics at Forbes North has been such a great opportunity for me and I feel I am making a valuable contribution to the children and the school”, says Ms Barter, one of the current teachers.
The newest member of the team is Madison Haynes.
“I came across the Primary Ethics program at a youth conference I attended earlier in the year,” she said.
“I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know more. I went online and found an extreme interest in the program, so applied online. A few weeks down the track I had an interview with Tricia Greenhill and was a successful applicant.
“The training was wonderful and gave me so many ideas and styles that I could teach with as well as great behavioural management strategies. Once I had completed my training I had a combined stage 2 class with fellow teacher Mary Hinchcliffe, to get the hang of things. I immediately loved the position and I highly recommend the experience that this role gives.”
The current Forbes teachers include Ms Barter, Ms Hinchcliffe, Mrs Duffy and Miss Haynes. “There is an information day for 2019 Kindergarten students at Forbes North Public School on Tuesday 13th November and we will be there to chat to any interested parents about Ethics, how to enrol their child or even if they’re keen to volunteer,” says Ms Greenhill.
To find out more or to volunteer please contact,
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.primaryethics.com.au
If you are a parent interested in having Primary Ethics classes at your child’s school, please email me on email@example.com