All primary schools have half an hour a day set aside for the patron’s programme. In religious-run schools, religious instruction is taught at this time. In Educate Together schools, the Learn Together Ethical Education curriculum is taught. It includes learning about values and ethical perspectives; equality and justice; belief systems and an ethical approach to the environment.
Learn Together teaches students about different belief systems as well as atheism, agnosticism and humanism, without promoting any one worldview over another.
Strand 1: Values and Ethical Perspectives
The aim of the strand is to help develop in children an understanding and awareness of right and wrong. We look at values such as respect, kindness, peace and co-operation. In older classes, work is also done on the development of a conscience and the analysis of ethical dilemmas. Pupils explore meditation and stillness and engage in philosophical debate and discussion.
Strand 2: Equality & Justice
The aim of this strand is to develop in students an understanding and awareness of issues relating to human rights, equality, diversity, social justice and social inclusiveness and to empower them to make a difference. Work is done on rights and responsibilities. Discrimination is addressed. Classes do work on issues such as homelessness, migrant rights, LGBT rights, racism and ageism. Democracy on local, national and international levels is addressed.
Strand 3: Belief Systems
The aim of this strand is to develop in children an understanding and awareness of the teachings of religious and non-theistic belief systems. We teach about the main world religions: Christianity; Islam; Judaism: Buddhism; Hinduism and Sikhism as well as Humanism; Atheism and Agnosticism.
Strand 4: An Ethical Approach to the Environment
The aim of this strand is to develop in children an appreciation and respect for their environment and to empower them to take an active role in its stewardship. Issues such as climate change, pollution, endangered species etc are addressed.
Teachers, parents and students can access downloadable lessons and other resources for Ethical Education curriculum at both primary and second-level on the online resource bank:
- Learn Together Ethical Education Curriculum
- Lesson Plan: Responsible Pet Ownership – 3rd / 4th Class
- Lesson Plan: Humanism – 1st / 2nd Class
- Lesson Plan: Humanism – 3rd / 4th Class
- Brochure: Educate Together National Schools – An Overview
- Brochure: What is an Educate Together National School?
- Educate Together’s Charter