What is Philosophy For Children?
Philosophy for Children is a way of getting children to discuss important concepts such as life, love, friendship, identity, authority, power etc. using stories, pictures or objects. They are encouraged to listen to each other, find a space to talk, share their thoughts and ask questions. The discussion encourages children to reason, justify their opinions and if they choose, it allows them to change their minds.
Why do P4C?
Children need a forum to discuss issues that affect them here and now. Philosophising with children and young people is a good thing in itself. Philosophy calls on imagination and reasoning and puts these capacities to work exploring values, assumptions and vital concepts like justice, truth, knowledge and beauty. A philosophical community of enquiry provides a forum where adults and children can search for meaning together. Children become reasonable in both senses of the word -- they are adept at reasoning and they are open to the reasoning of others.
It is so important for adults and children to talk together in situations where differences can be welcomed and explored. It's now recognised that children are influenced by their peers to a far greater extent than we had previously thought. Not surprisingly, young people talk to each other and the talk means something. It’s important and memorable. Adults can make classroom talk memorable too, through philosophy.
Philosophy for Children promotes a forum for open dialogue in which participants are not content to exchange ideas and opinions as if they were bits of information. Instead they ask questions, sift arguments and explore alternatives. Above all, they try to understand each other. It is possible to find a philosophical dimension, and so an opportunity for philosophical thinking, in any subject in the curriculum
What are they learning?