What is the point?

“What is the point of doing philosophy in primary schools?” We sometimes encounter this is the sort of question from teachers under pressure from the demands of delivering the curriculum in school.

In our opinion the point is to enable children to explore and deepen their thinking, to be exposed to others’ ideas, to gain confidence and become independent thinkers. 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.

We need to give our children the chance to think for themselves; to make decisions; to form reasoned arguments; to listen to others and to change their minds. The best place to start this process is in philosophical enquiry.

“I gained an enormous insight into the way in which children think” was a comment from one teacher after watching a demonstration lesson – and these two comments followed staff training:

“Allows for deeper thinking and reflection for all. Develops a culture of no right/wrong way and respecting other’s opinions.”

“Reminds us what is important to develop in our children.”