The “MelArete” Project: Educating children to the Ethics of Virtue and of Care

Luigina Mortari, Marco Ubbiali

APA 6th edition
Mortari, L., & Ubbiali, M. (2017). The “MelArete” Project: Educating children to the Ethics of Virtue and of Care. European Journal of Educational Research, 6(3), 269-278. doi:10.12973/eu-jer.6.3.269

Mortari L., and Ubbiali M. 2017 'The “MelArete” Project: Educating children to the Ethics of Virtue and of Care', European Journal of Educational Research , vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 269-278. Available from:

Chicago 16th edition
Mortari, Luigina and Ubbiali, Marco . "The “MelArete” Project: Educating children to the Ethics of Virtue and of Care". (2017)European Journal of Educational Research 6, no. 3(2017): 269-278. doi:10.12973/eu-jer.6.3.269


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 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 virtues.  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 allows 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) and 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 application which we are testing in our research.

Keywords: Ethical education, ethics of virtue, ethics of care, kindergarten, primary school.


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