Philosophy for children (P4C) is taught throughout the school. This subject encourages the children to think differently and consider topics that they might not have contemplated. Rather than the teacher asking a question, in a P4C session we will often give children a stimulus such as a story or picture book and they create their own questions in response to this. They draw out philosophical questions, engaging with important ideas which people can have different views on. The questions stimulate discussion where the children have the opportunity to speak among themselves.
Children develop their reasoning skills, agreeing and disagreeing with each other without being disagreeable. The teacher acts as facilitator, keeping discussion focused and pushing for greater depth of thinking. While a typical classroom discussion is a series of questions and answers mediated by a teacher who is already an authority on the subject, in P4C pupils have the opportunity to create their own framework to search for answers that they find plausible and well-supported.
Each week a ‘Thinking Friday’ question is posed to the school, which is linked to P4C. Every child has the chance to write their own ideas and suggestions to answer the question and these responses are stuck on the board outside the hall. Throughout the following week, the children are encouraged to reflect upon their peers’ answers and responses to the question, giving them the chance to discuss differences and similarities in their opinions.