What is Philosophy for Children?

At St Luke’s we use Philosophy for Children (p4c) as well as the explicit teaching of thinking skills to approach our teaching and learning. Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a teaching and learning approach for 21st century education. Our curriculum encourages children to gather then apply knowledge in various ways and in this respect P4C is similar. The difference is in the way that it is done. P4C requires us to talk together on a topic of shared interest to see if we can end up with not only a deeper knowledge of it but a greater understanding. However, it is not just a chat! P4C develops better thinking skills and better ways of being together through discussing and questioning matters that matter. For children this is a special time, different to other lessons, of thinking and being together.


Why do Philosophy for Children?

By regular participation in philosophy teachers help children to understand not only how to think in better ways but also why it is important to learn to think well for themselves and for others.

There are short and long term benefits of taking parts in philosophy (as evidenced by SAPERE). Benefits that can be seen by teachers in the short term include:

· Greater engagement from all children.

· Increased speaking and listening opportunities so oracy is improved.

· Children learning to collaborate.

· Greater respect for each other.

· Excitement as children discover what they and others believe about the world in meaningful ways.

Benefits that can be seen by teachers in the long term include:

· Greater confidence to ‘have a go’ at expressing ideas and giving reasons.

· Status of children change as children feel more involved, leading to wider pupil voice.

· Greater cohesion of class and better caring skills

· Improved cognitive gains.

· Learning transfers across the curriculum.

· A greater sense of freedom in teaching and learning.

· Learning feels more relevant: not preparation for the future but important ‘now’.

How do we do philosophy?

Philosophy takes about an hour a week. Children sit in the thinking circle while a stimulus, such as a story, is presented. They talk about it, raise questions and vote on a question to explore. During the discussion the group searches for a better understanding about or judgement upon the question raised. Children offer ideas and reasons for their answers and as the group develops children become skilful at challenging, clarifying and justifying their reasons.

Click on the links below to have a look at some of the questions we have discussed recently in KS1 and KS2 or to see more philosophy in action and find further information!