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London Fields
Primary School

Philosophy for Children 

What is Philosophy for Children?

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.

Cross Curricular links

Philosophy for Children has a proven impact on children’s oral literacy skills. 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.