The educative project MelArete proposes an interpretation of ethical education: a form of Education to Virtue Ethics in the light of the philosophy of care.

Starting from the ontological assumption that care is prime in life – and without it in the human being cannot flourish in his/her humanity – the project is based on an interpretation of the pedagogy of care.
Since the practice of care reveals to have an ethical core and that core is made of ways of being-with-the-others, the pedagogical theory of MelArete states that, in order to develop a project that is in relationship with the core of life, we must educate to care.
Therefore, educating to care means educating to virtues. On this basis, MelArete proposes activities with the aim to guide children’s attention to the concepts of care and morality.

MelArete has its many references in Plato and Aristotle; besides it assumes the distinction of Ricoeur between ethics and morality.
In Plato/Socrates (Alcibiades I) ethics is an educational action that allow the others to thrive in their own existential capabilities; moreover, in Aristotle’s (Nicomachean Ethics) ethics searches for eudaimonia, a good quality of life.

In our educational project with children, the educative methods are the following:

  • conversations, promoting intersubjective thought
  • narratives, reading and writing stories about virtues
  • vignettes and games, stimulating ethical thinking through a playful language
  • the “diary of virtues”, promoting a reflecting culture of virtues in everyday life

In this paper we present the theoretical background of the project and a summary of the pedagogical approach and the application which we are testing in our research.


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