Primary schools encouraged to teach children about Humanism

Primary schools encouraged to teach children about Humanism

Primary schools are being encouraged to include Humanism lessons in the classroom.

One in 10 Irish people now identifies as non-religious according to last year's Census.

Humanism lesson plans for first to fourth-class pupils, developed by The Humanist Association of Ireland (HAI) and Educate Together, are available to download now.

Speaking at the launch today, Educate Together CEO, Paul Rowe, said: "These ground-breaking lesson plans are a long-awaited resource and available to any and all national schools throughout Ireland from today.

"They have been in development since 2015, and have already been piloted successfully in eight Educate Together schools.

"Whilst there is no shortage of teaching resources about religious belief systems such as Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism and Judaism, there has been very little up until now and certainly nothing Irish-produced, in terms of teaching resources about humanism, atheism or agnosticism. These lesson plans will go a long way towards addressing this need.

"They will also help to affirm the identity of schoolchildren from family backgrounds reflecting these philosophical outlooks."

Speaking at the launch of the lesson plans, 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.

"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."


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