Mums volunteer to host first ethics class at Morisset Public School

ETHICAL: Pictured, from left, are Angela Cuskelly, Cordelia Jones-Mashman and Graham Wrightson at Morisset this week. Picture: David Stewart
ETHICAL: Pictured, from left, are Angela Cuskelly, Cordelia Jones-Mashman and Graham Wrightson at Morisset this week. Picture: David Stewart

TWO local mums are excited to be going back to primary school as volunteer ethics class hosts.

Cordelia Jones-Mashman and Angela Cuskelly have recently completed the screening and training program with Primary Ethics, the charity approved by the state government to be the provider of ethics education in NSW primary schools.

They hope to host their first class at Morisset Public School soon.

Both women decided to become volunteer ethics class hosts because they didn’t want children who had been opted out of special religious education (SRE) classes to sit idle while scripture classes were held.

“I was tired of my kids sitting in the non-scripture room and doing nothing,” Ms Cuskelly said.

Ms Cordelia Jones-Mashman said scripture classes were not appropriate for her family, and she’d heard about the success of ethics classes at Bonnells Bay Public School.

“I think children’s minds are untapped, and this ethics program is a great way to access their reasoning skills,” she said.

In ethics classes, children are encouraged to develop skills in collaborative inquiry, logical reasoning, critical thinking, respectful disagreement, and listening.

The ethics curriculum is developed by Primary Ethics,  and volunteers receive two days of training in how to manage a classroom, and in education techniques.

Primary Ethics’ regional manager for West Lake Macquarie, Graham Wrightson, said volunteers came from all walks of life – from stay-at-home parents and retirees to trainee teachers.

“Our volunteers simply need to be able to facilitate a discussion among children on ethical topics, and get the children to express opinions, and listen to what other people have to say,” he said.

A commitment of between one and two hours a week is required to host a 30-minute lesson – allowing for travel and class preparation.

“Our curriculum has been approved by the Department of Education, and we’re offering the non-scripture kids something valuable to do.”

A school teacher is normally present in the room during ethics classes.

Mr Wrightson said more volunteers were being sought to host ethics classes in the district, from Wyee north to Boolaroo.

Visit primaryethics.com.au and speak to your local principal about initiating classes, he said.

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