Philosophy for Children
- Would you rather we were all the same or were all different? Should difference affect what people think of you? Does difference matter? Year 6 used a photo stimulus to generate these philosophical question in P4C last week.
- Who should write the rules?
Philosophy for Children at London Fields Primary
Philosophy for Children, or P4C, aims to develop children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. It was founded by Professor Matthew Lipman over 30 years ago. It introduces children to the ideas of the great philosophers, and allows them to develop their own philosophical questions and discussions.
How is Philosophy for Children taught?
Each class from Year 1 to Year 6 has a weekly Philosophy for Children session. In response to a stimulus, the children come up with their own philosophical question to discuss. For example, the question could be, ‘Is it ever okay to lie?’ The teacher then facilitates a discussion around this question, explicitly teaching, modelling and practising the following skills:
- Being a good listener
- Communicating clearly
- Making eye-contact
- Justifying opinions
- Defining meanings
- Questioning assumptions
- Disagreeing without being disagreeable
- Thinking hypothetically
- Finding examples and counter-examples
- Comparing and grouping ideas
At the end of the session, we reflect on the skills we had been developing throughout the discussion.
Why Teach Philosophy for Children?
Philosophy for Children has a proven impact on children’s oral literacy skills. See here and here for more research into its effectiveness in schools. It is also an opportunity for the children to discuss their learning in other contexts – for example, a Philosophy discussion may centre on a historical artefact or a religious symbol.
Find out more
To see P4C in action, click here.