Archive: 2011

  1. Enthusiasm in London

    Barbara and I enjoyed an excellent day working with the staff of Mayville Primary School in Waltham Forest. There was a real buzz about the school and there was genuine enthusiasm for introducing philosophy4children in the classroom. The head teacher ended the day by giving the staff passionate encouragement to begin working in this way with the children. She explained that it was important to give the children confidence in thinking for themselves and not following the gang culture that exists outside in the local area. We came away excited and encouraged by what we had seen and heard. One teacher said, “This session was fantastic. It’s what we needed here!” We are both looking forward to finding out how the school progresses. It is really exciting!

  2. Flying High!


    Thursday and Friday proved to be very busy when Philosophy4Children went international. We flew to Holland to take part in the Dutch International Schools Conference held at the International School in Hilversum. Keynote speakers on Friday were JoAnn Deak, educator and psychologist speaking on Differentiation by Stretching and Growing Children’s Brains and Frank Furedi, professor of Sociology at the University of Kent who spoke on The Risks of the Pedagogy of Differentiation. There were over 1,000 delegates from across Holland – the atmosphere was buzzing! We ran two workshops, both were full to capacity, and had a great mix of teachers – both primary and secondary, philosophers, school governors and managers. We were impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of all those involved and, as always, Dot and I enjoyed ourselves immensely!

  3. A first for Philosophy4Children

    We were thrilled and delighted to be invited to write an article about philosophy for children in the new magazine Primary Teacher Update! Now the article is in print and in the very first edition of the magazine! If you want to have a look go to

    This is a very new magazine that celebrates the very best in Primary Classroom Practice! We think that it is worth the £3.99 asking price. You can read about how to tackle head lice to helping parents to help their children at home to philosophy in the classroom and much much more……

  4. I wasn’t sure … I am now!

    “I was not sure about the “wee” ones (year 3) being capable of embracing philosophy, but I am now!” This was one of the comments from a teacher following an INSET day in North Norfolk last week.

    It is always exciting to see Philosophy4Children embraced with enthusiasm. This was certainly the case when we worked with staff at Beeston Hall School. Our training is experiential and gives everyone a chance to take part in a philosophical enquiry – to experience what the children will experience, what better way to learn!

    Here are a few other comments following the session:

    “It allows for deeper thinking and reflection for all…”

    “I can see how it helps to develop a culture of no right / wrong way and of respecting others’ opinions”

    “It helped me to think more widely and I could see how it would help the children too. Not too much to listen to and plenty of time for input and thinking.”

    It was a pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic group of teachers. I’m sure children at Beeston Hall will have an exciting time with philosophy over the years to come!

  5. Philosophy rules the waves!

    Barbara and I enjoyed a stimulating session at Beeston Hall School on Tuesday. Everyone took part with enthusiasm – even the “games” we had constructed to make everyone think! The feed-back was really positive. Watch this space for more about this very enjoyable morning spent next to the North Sea at West Runton with this inspiring team of educators!

  6. Where has Philosophy4Children been during the summer?

    It seems some time since we blogged. However, things have not stood still for Philosophy4Children. Our flight to Holland is booked and we will be off to work in Hilversum at the tDIS Teachers’ Conference in September. We are taking a somewhat circuitous route via Einhoven. More to follow….

  7. Coming up for air!

    Barbara and I have been working away at an article – Is philosophy what you think? – and then spent over 2,600 words explaining why it might not be. There are many misconceptions out there. We wanted to explore and explode some of these myths. The article may well appear in one of these blogs in the future – but for now I will leave you with one tantalising bit: What is the point of philosophy?

    The point is to enable children to explore and deepen their thinking, to be exposed to other’s ideas, to gain confidence and become independent learners. Done well, philosophy teaches children skills for life and learning: an ability to question beyond the obvious; to disagree respectfully, giving considered reasons. This impacts on all areas of the curriculum. As one five-year-old said, “philosophy is about everything we do”. How very true.

  8. No-one knows!!

    See what this group of Y3 and Y4 children have to say. They started with the question Why Do We Exist? This is a tiny piece of a fascinating enquriy!

    Lydia: People say the first people were cave men, but they were just normal people – cave men are nothing to do with why we are alive.

    Jack: I disagree with you Lydia. If cavemen aren’t anything to do with us…

    Lydia: What I mean is they weren’t the first people in the world. No-one knows who was the first.

    Kara: Well, most people think Adam and Eve were the first people on earth. But, no-one knows for sure.

    Emily: But Kara, to know whether Adam and Eve were the first, we have to know how they were created.

    Lydia: But how can we find out? Books weren’t written then.

    Kara: People in the future might be able to find out, but we never will.

  9. Food for thought

    “Many thanks for yesterday. I thought it went very well and has given us much food for thought.” This is the response from our latest training session. On Monday Philsophy4Children returned to London to work with a great group of teachers in Eltham. We had a very stimulating philosophical enquiry using the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (ISBN 0-060256626). This book is excellent as it always raises a variety of issues. Monday was no exception. We explored whether humans are misusing the planet; what the nature of giving is; the existence (or not) of God; the concept of Mother Nature plus much more. Indeed, a lot of food for thought!

  10. What will the children get from philosophy?

    Philosophy4Children travelled to Dudley, just outside Birmingham last week. The twilight session with staff from 3 local primary schools finished with a philosophical enquiry. I was asked by one of the teachers “Our thinking has gone really deep with this – what will the children get from philosophy?” The answer came the following morning when we worked with Year 2 and Year 6 to deliver demonstration lessons. The children were stunning, their thinking was just as deep and they explored (amonst other things) the meaning of love and the existence of God, they were much more able to think “outside the box” and were extremely keen to explore ideas and challenge each other. Here is some of the feedback we got “the session with the children was of particular interest as they were clearly more relaxed than the adults.” ” An extremely useful session. Good to see how children can develop, think and speak when given the chance… I expect it to aid me in my attitude towards the children as well as helping them. Of course I’ll use it.”