Philosophy for Children

I first came across this concept nearly 10 years ago when I read a superb book from the British Library in Ahmedabad (that regrettably I haven’t been able to trace since). Though I found it an enchanting and refreshing idea I didn’t follow up. Then, a couple of years ago, I was reintroduced to the concept by Dr Sue Lyle who is a qualified P4C (Philosophy for Children) teacher trainer.

When Sue visited India in 2011 she delivered a great workshop for teachers on P4C over 3 days, though it’s a little hard to guage how many of the teachers have had the courage to explore it further with children since.

I was therefore very interested to come across this sensitive article from the Telegraph newspaper, giving interesting insights in to P4C in practice: Telegraph Article

Whilst I liked the sound of the programme that was happening in the UK school I couldn’t help thinking that the way it was shoehorned in to a lunchtime club activity was to miss the point somewhat. The world is looking for children to receive a far more holistic education, a teaching of the ‘whole child’ including the development of higher order thinking skills. However, I am concerned when this is seen as some sort of optional add-on extra that is unrelated to the core school learning. Can we not have children getting this curious, this creative and this imaginative about core curriculum learning in a way that makes the entire learning experience in school one of exploration and investigation? Could children be exploring these kinds of ‘what if’ questions in the realm of all subjects in school? After all, haven’t ‘what if’ questions been pivotal in some of the biggest leaps forward in scientific and other knowledge?

So, my final conclusion is that it’s good that children are getting to spend time exploring such issues, but the fact that it sits in the context of an add-on extra lunchtime class is evidence that we have a long road ahead.


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