Author Archives: Dot Lenton

  1. Pandemic Pack

    Everything has its upside.

    During this pandemic Barbara and I have been working on our training pack. Nothing compares with going into schools and working with real people, but during this enforced interval, planning and thinking together to expand the pack has been an exciting challenge for us.

    The pack is full of lots of useful ideas and tips. There are links to challenging and interesting clips from YouTube as well as suggestions from the world of art, and stories that you can use in the classroom.

    It will take you step by step through the method we use in teaching a philosophical enquiry, as well as giving you background into the history of our work in schools.

    Watch this space for its arrival!

  2. Exploring the Paston Treasure

    An unusual context for philosophy4children – looking at a specific painting that had been commissioned by the famous Paston family of Norfolk depicting an apparent collage of treasures that they had collected over the years. But it included the picture of a child among the silver plate and jewels. What did the family wish to portray? What was their rationale?

    It proved to be an intriguing look into the world of a family that left a legacy of some of the first letters written in English from the fifteenth century. The teachers who attended were from different schools in Norfolk. The workshop was part of the Paston Footprints three-year project which aims to introduce more and more people, including children, to the fascinating Paston story.

    For more information on the project, click here.

  3. Is education all about the 3 R’s?

    It is difficult not to think that education these days is all about reading, writing and mathematics. Martha Nussbaum in her book “Not for Profit – Why Democracy needs the Humanities” (Princetown University Press) says “We must resist efforts to reduce education to a tool of the gross domestic product…rather it should be to teach students to think critically and to become knowledgeable and empathetic citizens.” Here Here!!

  4. Educating Future Philosophers: A Teachers’ Networking Event

    The University of East Anglia, in partnership with Philosophy4Children, would like to invite teachers to a special event to explore the role Philosophy plays, and can play, in a student’s life across the whole student lifecycle. The event will be hosted by our School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies.

    Educating Future Philosophers will bring teachers and university academics together to network and to share experiences about teaching Philosophy and using Philosophy in the classroom in both the school and university environment. Our aim is to look anew at Philosophy and collaboratively find ways in which to improve the teaching and application of Philosophy across the whole student lifecycle.

    The event will consist of three sessions, a buffet dinner and drinks. These three sessions will cover primary, secondary and Higher Education discussion. The primary session will be led by Philosophy4Children, whilst for the secondary session a panel of secondary teachers will share their own experiences of teaching Philosophy and then answer any questions from delegates. The Higher Education session will explore how Philosophy is taught at university, and how the study of Philosophy could be more cohesive.

    The event is free to attend but must be pre-booked. We will also reimburse travel expenses.

    Essential Information
    Date and time: 28 April 2015, 17.00 – 20.00
    Venue: The University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ
    Network Coordinator: Dr Kim Ridealgh
    To book: Please email for further information.UEA logo

  5. On the road again!

    Philosophy4Children were on the road once more. On Tuesday we went back to the school in Canterbury that we had visited in November. The staff were full of information about the impact that philosophy had had on their children. They said that the children had been enjoying the approach very much. One said that her small children in reception had loved the language and saying the sentence “I agree with John because…..” and then forgot the rest of the sentence! The staff were very enthusiastic and were receptive and keen to move on philosophically. We explored the development of games – how you can get more from them; we looked for links in questions and we considered the way in which the facilitator could be more effective when working with a group. It was a very happy and excited group and we left feeling very buoyed up by the experience. It was a long trek back to Norfolk for an early start the next day to continue the filming of the class that we have been working with for the last three terms. Very rewarding results though. The class teacher said, “It is obvious children are getting better at listening to each other – there is more awareness of others’ ideas within the group.” This has to be the best job in the world!

  6. Exciting morning at Little Plumstead

    photoQuestions children asked at the end of the morning’s workshop.

    Children gathered from across the Thorpe High School Partnership at Little Plumstead to experience a time of thinking and exploring ideas together. Their ideas ranged from flying pigs to the nature of loneliness and true friendship. One girl said that she had enjoyed hearing the different points of view of all those present. Philosophy4Children would like to think that new friendships were also forged during this exciting time.

  7. Life, the universe and everything!

    We had a very enjoyable morning at the University of East Anglia – meeting with the thinkers and planners! We are planning an exciting day with the Philosophy department in the Spring of 2015 – using Philosophy4Children as a method of introducing the idea of using philosophy from the cradle to the grave! We know young children can become hooked into using higher-order thinking at an early stage, in their approach to life, the universe and everything, and we want to encourage its use in depth through school and then at university.

  8. Hectic but oh so worth it

    Philosophy4Children headed off to Rayleigh for an early morning meeting, followed by a training session in Canterbury in the afternoon. We clocked up a lot of miles that day but were rewarded by the warmth and enthusiasm of the staff in both schools. At the end of the day staff were buzzing and saying that they couldn’t wait to get into their classrooms the next day and begin a philosophy session for themselves. In a subsequent email the head teacher wrote “I am pleased to say that FOUR teachers tried Philosophy the very next day and we are also the proud owners of a ‘Wonder Wall’ in year 5 & 6. Thank you!” This makes all the travelling so worth while.

  9. Philosophy involved in school celebration

    During a celebration evening at Little Plumstead Church of England Primary School, hosted by the governors, parents were introduced to some of the work that their children are doing with Philosophy4Children. Quotes from the children involved in the P4C work created  discussion and admiration from the parents who were there. One Year Four boy said that ideas are like bubbles that stay in your head and then burst at just the right moment. Another child commented on the fact that she enjoyed not always having to agree with her best friend. The quote that received a wry smile was the one in which a child said that he liked philosophy because “you don’t have to be tested in it”!

    Here are some pictures from the evening. They show parents looking at the Philosophy4Children stand.

    IMG_1223 IMG_1226

  10. Enquiry approach receives “Outstanding”

    One of our schools using the enquiry approach to teaching and learning has received an Outstanding grade from Ofsted. Many years ago we presented an introduction to Philosophy for Children to Forncett St Peter Church of England Primary School. They went on to use this approach right across the curriculum and were rewarded by being awarded Outstanding by the Ofsted inspector. The lead inspector said that the school  was a place where pupils loved to learn and where “they find lessons inspirational”!  We are absolutely delighted at Philosophy4Children and send our warmest congratulations.