What we talk about in ethics classes 
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PrimaryEthics@Home for Parents and Carers | March 2017

Welcome to PrimaryEthics@Home! This first edition for 2017 introduces the topics covered in ethics classes in term 1, plus gives background reading and activities designed to help further ethical discussion with your children at home.

Every day parents, families and teachers help children form their own opinions about ethical issues. Other factors, like media and culture, have an influence too. In ethics classes, children can articulate their ideas and explore ethical issues together by listening to each other, discussing respectfully and applying critical thinking skills like using reason and evidence and evaluating arguments.
Our skills based program is designed to support the important work of parents and teachers by giving children the confidence and skills to talk about ethical issues with those around them. These are important life-long skills aimed at helping children make well considered decisions rather than acting out of habit or peer pressure. 

Visit the info hub for parents and carers for more info about the program.

Any feedback on your child's experience, or on PrimaryEthics@Home, is warmly welcomed. Please email

Useful questions to help continue the discussion at home

The Primary Ethics approach encourages children to be curious and make their own discoveries so asking your child a question like 'what did they teach you in ethics class today' might draw a blank! Here are a few other questions that might help get the conversation started:
  • Did you hear anything that surprised you in ethics class today?
  • What stories did you hear?
  • Did you change your mind about anything?
  • Did you disagree with anything that anyone said? Why?
  • What was the strongest argument you heard?

Current topics for term 1 2017

Please note: there can be slight variation from school to school in timing of topic delivery

Early stage 1: kindergarten


Topic 1: Questions, puzzlement and what is okay

Ethics classes aim to nurture children’s curiosity, as well as their thinking abilities, so that they are motivated and confident enough to think well and for themselves about issues that matter to them. Find out more about  Questions, puzzlement and what is okay.

lessons-1-4-image-1-miaTopic 2: Secrets and a big important question

Have you ever wanted to ask a question out loud but didn’t, because you were worried it would sound silly? Supported, collaborative inquiry is one of the most effective means of bringing about understanding. But being curious and asking questions can take courage! Read about Secrets and a big important question.

In topics 1 & 2 we get to know Mia, who loves asking questions.

Stage 1: years 1 & 2


Topic 1: Empathy

Imagination plays a big role in empathy, as we need to imagine how others feel. Read more about the topic. 

Watch a video about Empathy.

Topic 2: Being similar and being different

Ask your child to help you think of three things that you both have in common. The ability to detect similarities and differences underlies our capacity to make distinctions and to form concepts. Read more 

Stage 2: years 3 & 4


Topic 1: Being greedy

It’s Emma’s best friend’s birthday. The birthday cake looks magnificent. Emma eats her slice quickly, and notices that there is one piece left. Although she’s feeling full, she asks if she can have it. Is Emma being greedy? Read more

Topic 2: Is lying wrong?

Is it ever ok to lie? Why or why not? Read more

Stage 3: years 5 & 6


Topic 1: Voting - an ethical issue?

This Stage 3 topic begins with a story set close to home. It’s election time for the student representative council. Jen and Zac are both in the running, and it will be up to a class vote to decide who will be selected.

Topic 2: Punishment 

If you had an invisibility ring and no one could see that you were there and no one could punish you for anything you did, would you still have a reason to do what is right?

Share in your networks

Please forward this email to someone you know who might like to learn about the ethics option for their child. You might even know someone who’d like to volunteer or donate to help our program continue.
Thank you for your support!

In the media

Volunteering to teach ethics in schools (2UE)
Ethics classes in NSW primary schools growing despite barriers to enrolment (Sun Herald)
Justice Kirby op-ed: Parents need all the options before deciding on religious education at school (SMH)

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Suite 408 24-30 Springfield Ave Potts Point NSW 2011

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