Philosophy for Children
This month, P7 have engaged in several P4C sessions. P4C, or Philosophy for Children, is an approach to learning and teaching which enhances children’s thinking and communication skills, boosts their self-esteem, and improves their academic attainment. It was established over forty years ago by Professor Matthew Lipman of Montclair State University in the United States and is now practised around the world.
In P4C, a stimulus, such as a story, video clip or image, is shared with a group of children. The children are encouraged to come up with the kind of big, engaging philosophical questions about the stimulus which are at the heart of P4C. Through a vote, the children then choose the question they would most like to discuss. The teacher gives the children time to think and reason individually about the question before facilitating the exchange of ideas and opinions as a group, or community of enquiry. Over time, the teacher supports the children to think more deeply and philosophically by encouraging the 4Cs of P4C – critical, creative, collaborative and caring thinking.
Most recently we used ‘The Red Tree’ by Shaun Tan as a stimulus. The children explored the concept of hope and generated the question ‘Is hope useless?’ This lead to a rich philosophical enquiry, which all children contributed to. We look forward to our next P4C session.