Sligo School Project has its own ethical core curriculum. The document has being revised during the school year 2011/2012. A steering group provided a proposal for the document. This proposal was brought into the discussion at our annual symposium in May 2012 and changes to the proposal were made afterwards.
The Executive Committee ratified the revised core curriculum in September 2012. Below you find the complete text. A printed version of the core curriculum is available at a rate of € 4. If you wish to avail of a printed copy of the document, please contact the school directly.
Core Curriculum Sligo School Project
The purpose of this booklet is to provide information about the ethical education core curriculum which is offered in Sligo School Project National School. It seeks to develop the awareness, interest and involvement of the entire school community in the core curriculum. It is a guide to present practice in the school.
The teaching of ethical education is informative and does not include denominational instruction. Pupils will be taught objectively about ethics and various religions, both those of the present and the past, their origin, cultural background, history, teachings, distribution and – where applicable – their cessation. In the same fashion the pupils will be taught about non-theistic world views.
The core curriculum covers a wide range of religious, social and ethical issues. These issues are dealt with in a sensitive manner appropriate to children of all religions and none.
The Principles of Sligo School Project
The fundamental principles of Sligo School Project determine that the ethos of the school reflects a society in which there are many social, cultural and religious strands. The principles are:
The multi-denominational principle
All children have equal right of access to the school. The religious, cultural and social background of each is equally respected.
The co-educational principle
Each child will be encouraged to develop his or her potential in a school setting that is committed to equal opportunities for girls and boys.
The child-centred principle
The child is seen to be the most active participant in his/her own education and acquires knowledge to a large extent through personal experience and active participation in his or her learning.
The democratic principle
Sligo School Project is committed to being aware of and sensitive to the needs and aspirations of its children, parents, teachers and wider school community to enable a high level of participation and partnership of all involved.
The open communication principle
Sligo School Project is committed to having a positive approach to proper and open communication among parents, teachers and the school community.
Aims of the Ethical Education
1. To enable teachers to raise awareness and appreciation of our multicultural society.
2. To equip teachers with a scaffolding for the presentation of knowledge about various religious beliefs, festivals and practises as well as world views which disbelieve in the existence of a supreme being or supreme beings, in accordance with the “Toledo Guiding Principles on Teaching about Religions and Beliefs in Public Schools.”
3. To foster a sense of confidence and self worth.
4. To address emotions such as joy, enthusiasm, desire, grief, frustration, anger and disappointment with overall approval, acknowledgement for their reasons and the intent to understand them in their social origins.
5. To support the development of individual talents, and encourage initiative, independence in thought and action as much as solidarity and empathy.
6. To encourage a climate of critical analysis in all areas of school life.
7. To promote equality among the sexes and to cultivate attitudes of care and respect towards the rights of others.
8. To address the issues arising as a consequence from being in groups, large or small, voluntary or compulsory, like group think, peer pressure, mutual support and team spirit.
9. To promote a culture of conflict resolution in a respectful and open minded manner.
10. To promote an active and responsible role in caring for the environment.
11. To raise awareness towards the hegemonies role of mass media and the presentation of consumer goods.
12. To raise awareness of human rights, equality and justice in society.
Above all, the Sligo School Project is dedicated to the happiness, welfare and education of its pupils.
Rationale behind the Core Curriculum
The high aspirations that lurk between a compilation of ethical principles and aims of ethical education can easily lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed. Everyday life can seem so far away from these principles and aims that they appear as simply too challenging for the average person.
This take on ethical education is very understandable, however it just as easily leads to a dismissal of the principles and aims. Consequently the relevant documents – like this one which you are reading at the moment – can be put on the shelf and become dust catchers.
In practice, it will always be possible to interpret terms such as respect, democracy, equality, tolerance etc. in different ways. Therefore, a concrete interpretation in a given social situation is required. This exactly is the task of all members of the school community.
School ethos is not only what is written on paper. It is the lived practice that is the real ethos of a school. In this sense ethos requires constant attention. Likewise, ethical education can not be construed as conveying a number of categorical imperatives to be learnt by rote. Ethical education is education by example as much as it is education through academic considerations of various topics.
For teachers in Sligo School Project the art of ethical education lies in applying the aims of the ethical core curriculum to the daily practice. The following sections are meant as a source for teachers to tap into to find anchor points.
The teachers’ practice is to be understood as active engagement in a process of interpreting the school ethos together with the children. Engaging with sixth class children in a critical analysis of religious practices, or initiating a role play with senior infants on Best Friends are as much ethical education as an art project of third class on Dying or an excursion with second class to the donkey sanctuary.
Ethical education not only overlaps with other subject areas in the primary curriculum. It also permeates the entire school life in which the teacher determines topic selection, forms of presentation and scope of engagement.
With the core curriculum we wish to encourage our teachers, pupils and parents to engage in a collective effort to find those topics that are most fitting at a given time.
In the core curriculum four areas are presented to make the finding of anchor points for teachers and children easier:
belief/thought systems (infants: celebrations)
Separating these four areas is a technical fix to allow for different points of departure in approaching a topic. It is clear that in real life such a separation is never applicable. The various aspects of individual (myself) and social life (the world), thought/belief systems and material world (environment) all influence each other.
For each of these four areas a number of topical headings are identified. These topical headings are understood as a general guide for teachers, they are meant to provide the already mentioned anchor points. The topical headings follow a logic of age related development and widening horizons of the children. Some of the topical headings appear in more than one age group, some others appear at a given point in time. They are specified for four age groups: infant classes; 1st and 2nd class; 3rd and 4th class, 5th and 6th class.
It is our hope that a culture of creative consideration of ethical aspects continues to evolve as a shared practice in Sligo School Project.
Physical Self (my body, food, shelter, hygiene, exercise, rest safety)
Feelings (happiness, sadness anger, hatred, jealousy, fear, disappointment,)
Safety (road and personal)
I am unique
My family and extended family (grandparents, relations)
Community celebrations (community games, local music performances)
Feasts and festivals (Eid, Christmas, Divali, Bealtaine, St. Patrick’s Day)
Growth and change
Caring for the classroom
|Self awareness/self esteem.|
Dealing with my feelings/emotions e.g. anger, disappointment, sadness.
Personal decision making.
Other family structures.
Communities (geographical communities, communities of interest)
Homes (my home, homes in other cultures)
Belief & Thought Systems
Religious Festivals (e.g. Lughnasa, Harvest, Chinese New Year, Halloween, Easter, Winter solstice)
Creation Stories (e. g. Aboriginal dream time, Native American stories, Christian creation story)
Religious Symbols (e.g. Cross, Star of David, Shamrock)Animal protection/endangered species
Conservation of water/energy
Habitats (e.g. birds, fish, wild gardens)
Conservation of water/energy
Habitats (e.g. birds, fish, wild gardens)
|Self awareness/Self esteem|
My body and how it change
Democracy in our school.
Cultural differences / Appreciation of diversity.
Homes (e.g. settled / nomadic / traveller)
Belief & Thought Systems
Special books in belief systems (e.g. The Qur’an, The Tanakh, The Dhammapada, The Bible, The Bhagavad Gita)
Places of Worship (e.g. Church, Temple, Mosque, Synagogue)
Religions of the past (e.g. Greek mythology, Ancient Egypt, Native Americans Aztec, Incas, Maya)
Belief Systems (e.g. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Agnosticism, Hinduism, Deism)
Local environmental issues
Democracy on a global level
Belief & Thought Systems
Key figures in belief systems (e.g. Church of Ireland Vicar, Roman Catholic Priest, Jewish Rabbi, Muslim Imam, Sikh Granthi)
Belief Systems (e.g. Atheism, Judaism, Bah’ai, Buddhism, Humanism, Sikhism, Cargo Cults)
Natural disasters (e.g. earthquakes, tsunami)
Food organic / processed
Relationship between nature and humans
In the print version we refrain from listing resources for the four areas. However there are numerous resources available, be it in printed or in electronic format. It seems to be self-evident that the resources listed here are not meant to represent the views of Sligo School Project. They are rather seen as useful material to engage with in the course of ethical education. Thanks to Frank who compiled the list below. If there is a link that is outdated at some stage, you may let us know.
Resources for Myself and the World
Feelings (Afraid, Lonely, Angry, Sad, Jealous, Hurt)
Series of Books on – co-operating, belonging, relating, loving, choosing,
communicating, sharing, caring, living)
Investigating Morals and Values
Battle Against Leprosy
All Our Children
I was Black
Why are people different?
Janikovsky, E – Even Granny was young once
Steadman, R – That’s my Dad
Hughes, T – How the Whale became
Conroy, D – The Owl Who Couldn’t Give a Hoot
Hawkins, C & J – Terrible Terrible Tiger
Larsen, H – What are you scared of?
Cass, J – The Persistent Mouse
Tomlinson, J – The Otter who wanted to know
Oram, H – Angry Arthur
Omerod, J – Be Brave Billy
Smith, W – The Lonely Only Mouse
Sendak, M – Where the Wild Things are
Carle, E – The Bad-Tempered Ladybird
Wilkelm, H – Let’s Be Friends Again
Hughes, S – It’s too frightening for me
Tomilson, J – The Owl who was afraid of the dark
Murphy, J – Peace at Last
Aliki – Feelings
Coates, D – The New Baby
Tomilson, J – The Gorilla Who Wanted to Grow Up
Garth, M – Moonbeam
Althea – Feeling Jealous (A&C Black)
Whitehouse & Pudney – A Volcano in my Tummy
Charlish, A – We’re Talking About Bullying
Ross, T – Oscar got the Blame
Atkinson, M –‘Why Can’t I be Happy all the Time?’
Baker, J – Where the Forest Meets the Sea
Benjamin, F – Skip Across the Ocean (Nursery rhymes from around the world)
Foreman, M – One World
Gray, N – Running Away From Home
Greenfield, E – Granpa’s Face
Hathorn, L – Grandma’s Shoes
Jeffers, S – Brother Eagle, Sister Sky
Kelleher, V – Where the Whales Sing
Mc Grath, H & Francey, S – Friendly Kids, Friendly Classrooms
Wood, AJ – The Little Penguin
Dorling Kindersley in association with UNICEF – A Life Like Mine – How Children Live Around the World
Fitch, S & Labrosse, D – If You Could Wear My Sneakers (Rights of the child)*
Hatch, Virginia et al – Human Rights for Children (Curriculum for teaching human rights to children)
UNICEF – For Every Child – The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for Children
Amos, J – Series of books (Bully, Cheat, Liar, Moody, Selfish, Cheat, Fair, Honest, Reliable)
Feelings Series (Confident, Brave, Friendly, Happy, Angry, Lonely, Afraid, Jealous, Sad) – Cherrytree Books
Levete,S – Series of books (Being Jealous, Being Angry, How do I fit in? Bullies and Gangs)
Moses, B Poems about you and me (Poems about values)
It wasn’t me (values series)
I Feel Frightened / angry / Jealous / Sad (series of books)
Rae, Tina – Dealing With Feeling and Dealing with Some More Feelings (Emotional Literacy Programmes with books, resources and CD rom)
Novels with various themes:
Benny and Omar (Set in Tunisia)
The Underground Railway (Slavery)
Looking After Louis (Autism)
Cinnamon Tree (Landmines)
Amazing Grace (Gender and racist prejudice)
I am David (Internment in a Camp)
Out of the Flames (Refugee comes to Ireland)
Just Joshua (Diversity)
Letang’s New Friend / Letang and Julie save the Day / Trouble for Letang and Julie (Friendship, inclusion, race, disability – moving to a new school and country)
Bright Ideas for Assemblies (TCD publications)
Bright Ideas – Festivals (Scholastic publication)
Series of books on feelings (Cherrytree Books)
Benjamin Books – various themes
With Travellers – A handbook for teachers
So Everybody fights? (Teaching programme on development education for 9 to 13 year olds. Irish Commission for Justice and peace)
Material from Trocaire
www.prim-ed.com (Values Education Programme)
www.festivalshop.co.uk (CDs and other resources on various topics)
www.itmtrav.ie (Irish Traveller Movement)
www.cs.org (Indigenous peoples and their cultures)
www.oneworld.net (Senior Classes)
www.educationworld.com (Diversity in classrooms)
Programmes from other primary schools:
Alive O ( Religious programme for Catholic primary schools)
Follow Me (Religious Programme for Church of Ireland primary schools)
Learn Together (Ethical Education Curriculum for Educate Together schools)
Resources for Environmental Education
Swallow Tale: A book following the swallow’s journey looking at various environments along the way.
Brother Eagle Sister Sky (Penguin): A book outlining the Native American attitude to the environment : 8 -12 years.
Window (Walker Books): A book introducing environmental issues to young children 4-7 years.
Educate Together www.educatetogether.ie/eec/resources
ENFO The Environmental Information Service www.enfo.ie
Environmental Education for kids www.eek.net
Environmental Youth Programmes www.earthforce.org
An Taisce www.antaisce.org
Resources for Belief Systems
Toledo Guiding Principles on Teaching about Religions and Beliefs in Public Schools
What do You Believe? (DK Publishing)
Special Ceremonies – Growing Up
Special Ceremonies – Feasts and Fasting
Temples and Other Places of Worship
Let’s Discuss Religion
Mormons, Christian Scientists, Jehovah’s Witnesses
Religious Topics – Religious Teachers and Prophets
Religious Topics – Pilgrimage
Religious Topics – Religious Dress
Mankind’s Search for God
Festivals and Celebrations
Teaching World Religions
Poems about Festivals
Seasonal Festivals – Summer Festivals
Festivals, Family and Food
Exploring World Religions
High Days and Holidays
Introducing Religions – Buddhism
Great Religious Leaders: The Buddha and Buddhism
Festivals – Buddhist Festivals
Christianity (Eyewitness Books)
The Story of the Hindus
Religious Stories – Hindu Stories
I am a Hindu
Stories from the Hindu World
Great Religious Leaders – Krishna and Hinduism
The Divali Story
Hinduism Fact Sheet
BBC Pathways of Belief – Judaism
Religions of the World – Judaism
The Story of the Jews
Introducing Religions – Judaism
Stories from the Jewish World
Celebrations – Jewish Festivals
Great Religious Leaders – Moses and Judaism
Religions of the World – Sikhism
Introducing Religions – Sikhism
I am a Sikh
Great Religious Leaders – Guru Nanak and Sikhism
Stories from the Sikh World
The Bahά’i Faith
I am a Rastafarian
Belief and Believers
(Toledo Guiding Principles on Teaching about Religions and Beliefs in Public Schools)
(Atheism, Bahá’í, Buddhism, Candomblé, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Judaism, Mormonism, Paganism, Rastafari, Santeria, Shinto, Sikhism, Spiritualism, Taoism, Unitarianism, Zoroastrianism)
(Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism)
Feasts and festivals:
Chinese New Year:
Native American stories:
Judeo-Christian Creation Story:
Special books in belief systems
(Diagram of characters of the Tanakh/Old Testament)
The Bhagavad Gita:
Places of Worship
Religions of the past
Belief Systems I
Key figures in belief systems
Roman Catholic Priest:
Belief Systems II