Philosophy for Children (P4C) is designed to help children become more willing and able to question, reason, construct arguments and collaborate. It is an approach to teaching in which students participate in group dialogues focused on philosophical issues. Dialogues are prompted by a stimulus (for example, a story or a video) and are based around a concept such as ‘truth’, ‘fairness’ or ‘bullying’. P4C builds higher order thinking, questioning, speaking and listening skills. It creates respect for others, promotes engagement with learning and enhances educational development.
In a typical lesson, pupils and teachers sit together in a circle and the teacher begins by presenting a stimulus such as a video clip, image or newspaper article to provoke pupils’ interest. This is generally followed by some silent thinking time before the class splits into groups to think of questions that interest them. A certain question with philosophical potential is then selected by the group to stimulate a whole-class discussion. These discussions are supported by activities to develop children’s skills in reasoning and their understanding of concepts.
There is evidence that P4C has a positive impact on children’s attainment, in addition to a positive influence on the wider outcomes such as pupils’ confidence to speak, listening skills, and self-esteem which are really important for other learning to take place.
At Elton, we have adapted the stimuli which we use for P4C lessons, in order that they have closer links with our wider curriculum. We then use these stimuli as a starting point for our conversations, encouraging the children to think deeper and ask questions about their learning. For example, children in Year 5 learning about Islam in RE and about changes as we age in Science, look at stimuli which link to prejudice and stereotypes. This then promotes discussions which link back to their learning in RE and Science.
Below are some examples of images your children will have used as stimuli: