Demand for Primary Ethics classes is outstripping the supply of volunteer teachers prompting a call for more volunteers to sign up.
The discussion based classes are an alternative to non-scripture classes for children from kindergarten to year 6.
Primary Ethics Central West regional manager Sue Moffatt said there was demand at several schools in Orange for the classes.
Ms Moffatt said there are 66 students at Calare Public School, 52 at Orange Public School, which came on board this year, 36 at Nashdale Public School and 100 and Millthorpe Public School, who are currently taught Primary Ethics.
Ms Moffatt said Bletchington Public School previously ran ethics classes and there is still demand but there are no volunteers to run the classes.
“We are doing the best we can for the schools who are interested,” she said.
Alison Bennett is a volunteer ethics teacher at Orange Public School and said the curriculum is tailored to each age group.
“I just though that it’s important for children to be exposed to ethical concepts at a young age,” she said.
“Statistics show children have a lot of firm beliefs by the age of seven so if we can introduce a range of concepts around that time we can help shape them, it’s all part of educating a child.”
Millthorpe Public School has the largest program in the region with 38 per cent of its students attending a weekly ethics class.
Millthorpe Public School volunteer ethics teacher and coordinator Darrin Yates said he was happy with the response to the ethics lessons.
“The content is great and it really helps kids to learn how to think and how to formulate good arguments,” he said.
Calare Public School volunteer ethics teacher and coordinator Leah Mansfield said she also wanted to provide a meaningful alternative to non-scripture.
Ethics classes are discussion-based and are facilitated by trained volunteer teachers using a curriculum that has been approved by the Department of Education.
Students are encouraged to ask questions, be curious, and share their own ideas so they learn to make well-reasoned decisions about ethical issues.
Parents, grandparents and members of the general community can apply to be ethics teachers through the charity Primary Ethics.
About two hours a week is needed to prepare and deliver lessons, which are only available to be downloaded and printed online.
A weekend workshop will be held in Millthorpe on November 25 and 26 for anyone interested in teaching ethics can to register to volunteer at www.primaryethics.com.au, or call 8068 7752.
Curriculum – kindergarten to year 2
- Focus on skills such as taking turns in talking, listening to ideas, giving reasons
- Examples of topics: Being kind, telling the truth, hurting someone without meaning to, forgiving, ownership, fairness and empathy.
Curriculum - years 3 to 6
- Critical thinking and discussion based skills.
- Stories, contemporary issues and real life scenarios form the basis of discussions on ethical issues such as selfishness, teasing, cheating, and voting.
- A current example was voting and children were asked to consider if they should vote for their friend, or should they consider the policies that each candidate presents, and should they consider how those policies affect anyone else other than themselves.