The first ever Humanism lesson plans will be introduced into a network of Irish primary schools today in a joint initiative involving the Humanist Association of Ireland (HAI) and Educate Together.
The growth in the number of Irish people who identify as non-religious is being reflected the new series of class plans.
The lessons, which have been in development since 2015 and have already been piloted in eight Educate Together schools, are designed for primary school pupils from first to fourth year.
The first legally-recognised Humanist wedding in Ireland took place in April 2013 while last year, one and a half thousand couples chose a Humanist ceremony for their marriage.
HAI spokesperson Philip Byers pointed to the ever-growing non-religious sector within Irish society.
Mr Byers stated: “Last month’s 2016 Census figures showed a substantial increase in Ireland’s non-religious sector - 468,400 respondents who identified as being non-religious — a 73.6% increase from 2011. One in ten Irish citizens now claims to be non-religious.
"Educate Together and the HAI believe that knowledge and understanding of differing beliefs should be at the heart of any inclusive model of education. Both organisations believe that this is particularly important in an education system where religious beliefs have long held a privileged position.”
Mr. Byers added: “These lesson plans address humanism in a matter-of-fact way and were developed in order to enhance children’s confidence in engaging with differing world views and religious beliefs.”