The contribution aims to present the theory of ethical education that founds the MelArete project, an educative program designed for kindergarten and primary school students with the aim to engage them in reflection on good, care and virtues. A phenomenological analysis of human being makes evident that caring for and being cared by others is fundamental, and theoretical and empirical research highlight that care is a practice informed by ways of being which are definable as virtues. Socrates points out the importance of the care for the soul, that is not separated from the care for the others and the care for the common good. According to Aristotle, “living well” is one with “doing well”; and to do well means to act according to virtue. After a long period of oblivion, care has come back to the attention of philosophy thanks to Heidegger and Foucault, but it is thanks to female philosophers that care has been deeply analyzed. Recently, even pope Francis referred to the concept of care to reframe a “new humanism”, that promotes a better society. According to Ricoeur, ethics is an issue that deals with the care for oneself, for others and for institutions. Starting from these theoretical premises, the MelArete project, which conceives ethical education as educating to virtues in the light of care, is designed. The educative pathways, designed both for kindergarten and primary school, will be described by presenting the activities as well as the findings of the qualitative research carried out in order to evaluate the educational effectiveness of the project.
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