Art Piece representing the 4 strands of the “Learn Together” program

It began by many a conversation that took place between myself and Anna in May 2010. Anna energetically discussed the four strands of the Learn Together Program, the Ethical Core Curriculum of North Bay. Her emphasis was for the children and the parents of North Bay to visually understand what those four strands were and be intrigued by the colour that was manifested.

It was a pleasure for me to design and work with the creation of the four strands and we began by expressing that the core message was “to learn together” and, with this as the seed, the rest flowed willingly. The aim of these strands is to nurture and develop in the children a caring and responsible approach to society.


The first strand represents Moral Development and Spiritual Growth. The image of the bird of peace in flight represents the freedom of choice. Similar to us, the bird is on its own journey to seek new knowledge and wisdom, we also have the freedom to begin our own journey. We envisaged the bird as being unique and individual as we are. Like the bird we will cross many valleys and peeks in life and encounter many new experiences, but the greatest journey we will ever do is the journey into our selves

 The general aim of this strand is to help develop in children a critical knowledge, understanding and awareness of right and wrong and a heightened awareness of social, ethical and moral standards through reflecting on the meaning and purpose of life. This strand should encourage and develop the individual on the journey to inner discovery and empower the child to make informed moral decisions.

Strand Units:    

Exploring Moral Development

Cultivating Spiritual Growth


The second strand Equality and Justice is represented by the Scales of Balance. The image depicts a multicoloured race each reaching for Justice for All.

 The general aim of this strand is to develop in children a critical knowledge, understanding and awareness of issues relating to human rights, equality, culture and diversity, social justice and social inclusiveness and to empower them to make a difference.

Strand Units:    

Exploring Human Rights

Promoting Equality

Exploring the Democratic Process

Activating Equality through Positive Action


The third strand, The Belief Systems, is represented by the Giving Tree – deeply rooted in Mother Earth and surrounded by a warm inspiring sunset, the tree represents life and our connection to the earth. The roots that are securely bonded to the earth nurture us with life energy, the branches and foliage represent our growth and new experiences in life. From the tree the beautiful depicted symbols of belief circled in orbs display the diversity of what we believe in.  There are many duplicate symbols to recognise and connect with all of the belief systems that are encompassed by the North Bay Curriculum – Christianity, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhism

 The general aim of this strand is to develop in children a critical knowledge, understanding and awareness of the teachings of religious and non-theistic belief systems and how these systems relate to our shared human experience. The emphasis will be placed on an exploration of the infinite variety and richness of humankind through nurturing a respect for a person’s right to hold and practice individual belief systems and through creating spaces where values can be articulated and critically examined. Children will be encouraged to develop an understanding of the right to hold and practice differing beliefs and what it means to live in a world of diverse beliefs.

 Strand Units:    

Introducing key figures in the major belief systems

Exploring the rites and ceremonies associated with a variety of belief systems

Exploring the important celebrations associated with such belief system

Encountering the philosophy and values of the major belief systems


Ethics and the Environment, the fourth strand, The environment is represented by the earth, sun moon, and stars we wanted to express through this image the enormity of our environment and that it stretches out beyond what we can physically see and touch. The dancers around the earth are in celebration of this beautiful place we call home. The importance of caring for our environment whether it be at home, school or community can have a huge rippling impact on the world we live in.

The flags are an important aspect to North Bay as it takes pride in holding its own green flag (fourth year in a row). The blue flag represents the protection of our seas and the Orca whale represents the diversity of what life means on earth. The Sun and Moon represent day and night on Earth and the Yin and Yang represent male and female energy of our living planet.  

 The aim of this strand is to develop in children a knowledge, appreciation and respect for their environment and to empower them to take an active role in its stewardship.

 Strand Units:    

Knowledge and awareness of environmental issues

Activation of responsibility and stewardship

  Artist & Parent, Ana Gale and the Ethos Working Group

 Ref: excerpts from the ‘Learn Together’ Booklet: An ethical education curriculum for Educate Together Schools.

 Copies of this booklet can be purchased from the Patron Committee for €10