What is Philosophy for Children?

Benefits for Children

  • An enquiry based approach to open up children’s learning through the exploration of ideas.
  • Gives children the possibility of seeing that their ideas have value, and that others have different ideas that have value too.
  • They realise that they don’t always have to be right.
  • They have the confidence to ask questions and learn through discussion.
  • All learners (including teachers) have opportunities to genuinely enquire.
  • A chance to speak and be heard without fear of getting an answer wrong.
  • Intelligence grows.
  • Gives children who are not considered “academic” a voice and a chance to flourish.
  • Gives the “academic” children a chance to think outside the box and to see that the non-academic have inspiring ideas.
  • Gives all children value.

What does a session entail?

  • A structured session.
  • Starts with a stimulus.
  • Children are encouraged to draw on their imagination to ask a question based on wonderment (I wonder why…?).
  • Children make a collective decision on the question they are most interested in.
  • The discussion starts but is then not contained. It follows its own path guided by the children’s thoughts and ideas, agreeing and disagreeing, but always giving a reason for their point of view.

Outcomes for children

  • To learn to think before they speak and give reasons for what they say.
  • To value their views and the views of others.
  • Not taking things personally.
  • To learn respect and negotiation.
  • To learn not to be fearful.

Other outcomes – beyond Philosophy for Children

  • Impact on other areas of the curriculum.
  • Lots of ideas for creative writing.
  • Creates an enquiring classroom in all areas of the curriculum.
  • Affects personal skills, and behaviour in the playground.
  • Develops skills necessary for positions of responsibility (school council, worship leaders etc).
  • Listening and reasoning skills.
  • Independence.