Philosophy for Children

Why Philosophy for Children?

Philosophy for Children is often described as a thinking skills programme or a course in critical and creative thinking. While it is true that philosophy for children does improve students' critical and creative thinking skills, calling it a “thinking skills” programme does not do it justice. It does much more as well.

Philosophy for children builds on the students’ own wonder and curiosity about ideas that are vitally important to them. The subject matter of Philosophy for Children is those common, central and contestable concepts that underpin both our experience of human life and all academic disciplines. Examples of such concepts are:

Truth, reality, knowledge, evidence, freedom, justice, goodness, rights, mind, identity, love, friendship, rules, responsibility, action, logic, language, fairness, reason, existence, possibility, beauty, meaning, self, time, God, infinity, human nature, thought.

Going beyond the simple exploration of concepts the Philosophy for Children Program teaches students important ethical values necessary to navigate our increasingly multi-faith, multi-national, and multi-valued world.

Ethical values are integrated into philosophy for children in two ways. First, the ethos of the community of inquiry both requires and develops a range of ethical values that are essential to participation in a society in which there exists a plurality of values. These “democratic” values include tolerance, respect for others, taking all ideas seriously, caring for the procedures that govern collaborative inquiry, and willingness to listen to alternative viewpoints.

Secondly, ethical questions are often the subject of inquiry. Ethics is a central area in philosophy and many of the purpose written materials stimulate philosophical exploration of concepts such as good, bad, fairness, rules, rights, duty, friendship, and empathy.

Philosophy for Children Alberta maintains their own website where you can find even more information on the program, including their summer day-camp program, EUREKAMP!  Visit the P4CA website.