"The Mind is like a parachute; it works best when it is open." Frank Zappa
Philosophy for Children, or P4C as it is more commonly known, is a thinking skills programme which was developed by Matthew Lipman with his associates at the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy
for Children(IAPC), Montclair State University.
It has an ultimate aim of making students more reasonable. Lipman advocated that the goal of education should be to develop ‘practical wisdom’
or ‘good judgement’.
Philosophy for Children is about creating a space where a group or community of children can generate their own philosophy based on their responses to a given stimulus. As the community becomes used to thinking together in this way, mutual respect and confidence are built up over time.
Research in P4C provides evidence that it not only increases thinking and listening skills, but also skills of communication, self-esteem,
confidence, behaviour and engagement with learning across subject areas.
Traditionally, P4C has been classroom based in most of the 80 countries it is now practised, but it is increasingly used to make sense of
and deepen experiences in the outdoors, communities and other sectors of education.
A typical session includes a stimulus such as a story, photo, artefact or experience. Participants generate philosophical questions
and one is selected as the main focus of enquiry by the community. The enquiry is guided by a facilitator, whose role is crucial in encouraging thinking and dialogue that is collaborative, caring, critical and creative.