Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a teaching approach that uses philosophical inquiry as a means of promoting critical thinking and developing social, emotional, and cognitive skills in children.
It was developed by philosopher Matthew Lipman and his colleagues in the 1970s.
The philosophy for children theory is grounded in the idea that children are natural philosophers and that engaging them in philosophical inquiry can help to develop their reasoning, communication, and collaboration skills.
P4C typically involves a teacher guiding students through a structured discussion of a philosophical question or topic.
The discussion is guided by a set of principles that promote critical thinking, such as open-mindedness, reasonableness, and respect for others.
P4C aims to promote the following:
Critical thinking skills
P4C encourages children to think deeply and critically about complex philosophical questions and to develop their own ideas and opinions.
P4C helps children to articulate their thoughts and ideas clearly and confidently, and to listen actively and respectfully to the ideas of others.
Social and emotional skills
P4C promotes empathy, respect, and understanding of others, as well as the ability to manage emotions and develop positive relationships.
The philosophy for children theory has been shown to have a positive impact on students’ academic achievement, as well as their social and emotional development.
It is used in many schools and educational settings around the world, and has been adapted for use with students of different ages and abilities.