Volunteer ethics teachers needed

Mary Hinchcliffe, De Barter and Tricia Bolton are calling for more volunteers to help them teach ethics to students at Forbes North Public School.
Mary Hinchcliffe, De Barter and Tricia Bolton are calling for more volunteers to help them teach ethics to students at Forbes North Public School.

Forbes North Public School students have been given the option to study ethics as an alternative to traditional scripture or 'supervised care' classes over the last few years, but there is a need for more teachers.

Volunteers are needed to teach ethics at the school every Wednesday during each school term.

Tricia Bolton, the long-time coordinator of Primary Ethics at Forbes North said she has personally gained enormously from her involvement in the program.

Unfortunately, Tricia has stepped down from the role as she hopes to move interstate by the end of the year.

Tricia joined the Primary Ethics program as the coordinator seven years ago shortly after the program was started by De Barter.

The new ethics coordinator, Mary Hinchcliffe, said Tricia has always supported the volunteer teachers in their role, believing strongly in the goals of ethics lessons.

Mary said these goals include for children to learn how to respectfully discuss everyday ethical issues, listening closely to each other, forming opinions and sometimes disagreeing, but without any put downs.

"Tricia's wisdom in this role will be sadly missed," she said.

Primary Ethics volunteers come from all backgrounds, parents, grandparents, friends and members of the local community.

Mary said you don't have to have any previous teaching experience to volunteer, there is free online training and lots of ongoing support.

Anyone who has an hour a week to spare can apply to be a volunteer, Mary said.

"You will get a lot out of it and contribute valuable skills for the children's future."

"The ethics curriculum is Department of Education-approved. The classes are for children of all faiths and non, [the classes] are designed to get children thinking deeply and communicating respectfully," Mary said.

Ethics classes for kindy to year two focus on developing core skills such as listening to others, taking turns to speak and giving reasons.

Students are prompted to discuss ethical issues such as hurting someone without meaning to, telling the truth, being kind, forgiving, ownership, fairness and empathy.

Classes for year three to six have a strong focus on the development of critical thinking and discussion-based skills on ethical issues such as selfishness, promises, greed, friendship, cheating, punishment, homelessness, teasing and fairness in society and more

Mary moved to Forbes five years ago when she retired and soon jumped on board to become a volunteer teacher before taking on the role of ethics coordinator.

Mary said she is constantly inspired by the children's enthusiasm for the classes.

"It is a most rewarding experience, which keeps me in touch with the young generation," she said.

"I enjoy seeing their development and am always so impressed by their thinking skills."

Anyone that is interested in learning more about volunteering as an ethics teacher can visit the website at; https://primaryethics.com.au/volunteer/ethics-teacher/ or contact Mary at forbesprimaryethics@gmail.com.

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