Primary Ethics Program
Susan explained that in our Primary Schools if parents do not wish their children to participate in religious classes the have the option to have them attend "Primary Ethics" classes or participate in meaningful activities (activities that do not give children and curriculum advantage over other students) however some parents are horrified to learn that meaningful activities can include colouring in or watching non educational videos in some cases.
With a short slide show Suzanne explained that the Primary Ethics program is a half hour per week class designed to complement parents giving their Children basic life skills and teaching them ethical behavior.
Suzanne said that she is not seeking funding support for the program however if any Rotarians of Friends of Rotary would like to become part of the teaching program they would be most welcome.
Susanne then summarised the program asking questions of her audience and giving great examples of each element of the program that she had personally experienced in teaching the program. Many of Suzanne's experiences resignated with her audience.
Summary of Program
OUR MISSION - To support children to develop skills in ethical reasoning, critical thinking and respectful discussion by enabling community volunteers to deliver ethics classes in public primary schools.
OUR GOAL - To grow our program so that all parents have the option of choosing ethics classes for their child.
OUR VALUES - Primary Ethics is a child-focused organisation valuing:
RESPECT - We respect the rights of parents and carers to make informed choices about the most suitable option for their child. We create learning environments in which children practice respectful discussion. We respect the teaching environments and requirements of each school community and behave in a way that earns respect within each school community.
INTEGRITY - We employ robust recruitment and screening practices to ensure the integrity of our volunteers and highest standards in child safety. We use a strong evidence base in the design of our curriculum and strive for continuous improvement. We are open and transparent about our teaching methods and curriculum.
INDEPENDENCE - We provide a secular learning environment in which students of all faiths or no faith can learn together. Our volunteer ethics teachers impartially facilitate discussions, supporting children to develop the skills to form their own judgements on ethical issues. Our curriculum is independently developed, reviewed and approved.
EXCELLENCE - Our teacher training and curriculum are continuously improved to ensure excellence in the classroom. We provide classroom support and ongoing training to help volunteers improve their classroom skills. We welcome volunteer, parent and school feedback to improve our training, curriculum, systems and processes.
The purpose of Suzanne's presentation was not to seek funding support for the program. It was to inspire Rotarians and Friends of Rotary to become volunteers in the Program. Suzanne being a former Rotarian herself knows that Rotary's code of ethics aligns perfectly with the mission, goal and values of this program and that Rotarians would make ideal volunteers or can asses that Friends of Rotary, neighbours, other parents, grand parents etc would make ideal mentors to Children.
Suzanne is a coordinator of the program and can be contacted for more information. Alternatively, if Rotarians do know of anyone who would be interested in this wonderful community service activity for our youth they should ask them to look at the website for more information, contact their local primary school and ask if they have a Primary Ethics Program and talk to the person in that school who coordinates the Program.