Hastings residents are being asked to consider signing up as ethics teachers in our local primary schools.
In a first for Port Macquarie, Primary Ethics teacher training is coming to town in June and organisers are calling on local residents to get involved.
Ethics teachers are parents, grandparents and community members who have an hour a week to spare to facilitate an ethics class at their local primary school.
The classes support children to develop the skills to think things through and make well-reasoned decisions.
Jem Hansen who began teaching ethics classes at Hastings Public School in 2014 said she thinks the .
“I was inspired to be part of this program from the start,” Mr Hansen said.
“The training weekend was great, I had no prior teaching experience, but felt the training prepared me well for the task.
“It really helps that there is very clear curriculum with specific scenarios and instructions to follow.”
Ethics classes are available for students who would normally attend ‘non-scripture’ during Special Religious Education classes.
In ethics classes, children explore a range of stories and scenarios, discussing 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.
“The program helps students gain confidence in formulating answers to ethical questions, by examining an issue from many viewpoints,” he said.
“Students learn to both respectfully disagree and build on the answers of other students.
“They learn skills that will benefit them in their education, working lives and everyday life.”
The Primary Ethics program uses a unique, approved curriculum that contain stories and questions that volunteers use to facilitate the weekly discussions.
Children then use these skills when tackling everyday challenges, while preparing them for a future that is certain to be filled with a range of new and complex ethical challenges.
The number of local public primary schools in the Hastings region that run ethics classes is growing, and volunteers are wanted at schools including Lake Cathie, Port Macquarie, Hastings, Tacking Point, Beechwood, Wauchope and Laurieton Public School.
Tara Zimmer, another ethics teacher at Hastings Public School since 2013, said the classes are about talking not influencing students to make their own decisions.
“I really enjoy listening to the interesting opinions, how the kids learn from each other, develop skills to be more patient, respectful and open minded and have the freedom to justify their opinions,” Ms Zimmer said.
“Kids feel heard, gain confidence and an understanding of different perspectives.
“As a teacher I never stop learning, you can never underestimate how much children know and understand about the world.
“They are great thinkers and are full of knowledge.”
For more information or to sign up for a training session click here.