P4C EXPLAINED

       P4C was the brain child of Matthew Lipman, an educational philosopher who wanted to design an innovative method for enhancing children’s capacity to think critically, creatively and compassionately. In the early 1970s, he and his partner Ann Margaret Sharp started writing philosophical novels about kids exploring the meaning of their lives, adapting the learning-by-doing ideas of John Dewey and Charles Sanders Peirce. With these books, kids connect to their philosophical self, resulting in an innovative curriculum for all ages, from kindergarten through high school.

       P4C was the brain child of Matthew Lipman, an educational philosopher who wanted to design an innovative method for enhancing children’s capacity to think critically, creatively and compassionately. In the early 1970s, he and his partner Ann Margaret Sharp started writing philosophical novels about kids exploring the meaning of their lives, adapting the learning-by-doing ideas of John Dewey and Charles Sanders Peirce. With these books, kids connect to their philosophical self, resulting in an innovative curriculum for all ages, from kindergarten through high school.

       With P4C, young people bond over questions they find intriguing and contestable, becoming a Community of Philosophical Inquiry (CPI) committed to the pursuit of meaning, truth and value. As a group, they explore issues that resonate with them, discussing possible answers together and discovering the diversity of human experience. Through dialogue, they learn to be comfortable with uncertainty, listen attentively, resist their own biases, steer clear of stereotypes and appreciate each other’s perspectives. The motto? Many heads and hearts are stronger than one!

       With P4C, young people bond over questions they find intriguing and contestable, becoming a Community of Philosophical Inquiry (CPI) committed to the pursuit of meaning, truth and value. As a group, they explore issues that resonate with them, discussing possible answers together and discovering the diversity of human experience. Through dialogue, they learn to be comfortable with uncertainty, listen attentively, resist their own biases, steer clear of stereotypes and appreciate each other’s perspectives. The motto? Many heads and hearts are stronger than one!

       In a P4C community, young people take the reins: they are the ones to identify the dialogue topics, generate their own questions, exchange among themselves, come up with reasonable positions, evaluate their progress, and grow through cooperation rather than competition. This is called “child-centred learning” because the adult in the circle is not the leading expert but the helpful facilitator of a kid-driven experience, equally interested in the inquiry and dedicated to providing a safe, stimulating context to think things out.

       In a P4C community, young people take the reins: they are the ones to identify the dialogue topics, generate their own questions, exchange among themselves, come up with reasonable positions, evaluate their progress, and grow through cooperation rather than competition. This is called “child-centred learning” because the adult in the circle is not the leading expert but the helpful facilitator of a kid-driven experience, equally interested in the inquiry and dedicated to providing a safe, stimulating context to think things out.

       Since its beginnings, P4C has inspired educators around the globe and is practiced in dozens of countries as an education-for-wisdom model. UNESCO has celebrated and endorsed the P4C model’s capacity to promote democracy and peace by helping young people understand and embody good global citizenship. The P4C movement grew out of the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC) and is now also represented internationally by the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children (ICPIC).

       Since its beginnings, P4C has inspired educators around the globe and is practiced in dozens of countries as an education-for-wisdom model. UNESCO has celebrated and endorsed the P4C model’s capacity to promote democracy and peace by helping young people understand and embody good global citizenship. The P4C movement grew out of the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC) and is now also represented internationally by the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children (ICPIC).

Popular videos

p4c for 10-year olds

Filmed in 1999, James Nottingham conduces a P4C class for 10-year olds at a school in Northumberland, UK

Challenge learning

James explains the target model for teaching so children find incentive to continue on growing and maximise one’s potentials of learning.

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINgton on p4c

UW’s and Sara Goering’s approach to P4C applied to American schools.

P4C for 3-year olds

James Nottingham conduces a P4C class to a group of 3-year olds at a nursery in Northumberland, UK

P4C CLASS discussing war

‘In war, who is innocent and who is guilty?’ This clip shows a section of that discussion. Facilitator Doug has intervened in classroom dialogue to encourage pupils to question each other in reasonable ways and to deepen discussion through clarifying ideas, thinking of alternatives, speculating about consequences and so forth.

P4C for 15-year olds

James Nottingham conduces a P4C class to a group of 15-year olds in Victoria, Australia

Philosophy Club Nottingham

Philosophy Club, started as an initiative to allow children to think freely and enhance their skills to be able to argue with reason.

Dr. Andrew Fischer gives an interview of the benefits of philosophy for children.

TEDx Sara Goering on P4C

Dr Sara Goering, from the University of Washington, in this short albeit very pleasant presentation, explains  the details of how philosophy for children takes place, the benefits and the consequences for the children.

Oaxaca Initiative of P4C in Mexico

Amy Reed-Sandoval, who lives in Oaxaca and was also involved with the University of Washington’s Philosophy for Children’s Centre, decide to start a small summer class of P4C in the regions. 

In unison with Dr Sara Goering, she talks about what has elapsed in the previous 3 years since the initiative began.

P4C in New South Wales

Prof. Phillip Cam, from the University of New South Wales is leading an innovative program of bringing philosophy to the classrooms of Australia based on philosophy’s inquire-based learning.

While bringing philosophy to the standard curriculum would be of incredible benefit for the youth, his research and efforts has been of enhancing ordinary teaching and learning.

Socrates for six-year olds

The roots of P4C. Teaching children the systematic principles of logic, reason and argument, has perhaps been around for longer than we can conceive, though full credit must be given to the late Prof. Matthew Lipman, who was not only passionate about the development of society but also the pedagogy behind the empowerment of children with philosophy, through this marvellous method he created. He began by writing books for children in the 70’s, farther from adventures of the imagination, they were designed to allow children of all ages to think inquisitively, like philosophers do.

This video was produced in the early 90’s, the babysteps of P4C being applied to the curriculum of a public school in the USA.

P4C in Japan

TV Commercial aired for  promoting philosophy for children in Japan.

UNESCO ENDORSES P4C

     “The tragic events that have occurred in recent years everywhere across the world have alerted governments to the requirement to educate future citizens, from early childhood, in critical thinking, humanistic values, equality between men and women and the need for peaceful and respectful dialogue between cultures.” UNESCO Chair of Practice of P4C 2016

     These are by far, the most important documents on this website. The publication of 2011 is a follow up with statistcs of the 2007 study: Philosophy, a School of Freedom Teaching Philosophy and Learning to Philosophize: Status and Prospects.

Philosophy, a School of Freedom
UNESCO (2007)

Teaching Philosophy 
UNESCO (2011)

Resources for P4C online

THE P4C CO-OPERATIVE

One of the richest-online sources of publications. Ready-to-teach lessons and books. Comprehensive website and yearly membership for only $35 with access to all material available.

CENTER OF PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN

An also very rich website but particularly on the structural part of P4C, how to implement in schools and lesson plans based on a vast array of children’s books. Access is free though references to books which can be purchased online.

Very colourful and perhaps the best website to get acquainted in details of P4C. Based in Canada, the site provides English and French versions.

SAPERE specalizes in the training of aspiring teachers into the world of P4C. In the more than 25 years of its existence, it’s trained over 27,000 teachers world wide.

 

Tom Wartenberg’s prize winner and very neatly organized website and source of lesson plans.

New Zealand’s comprehensive approach to the inquiry-based learning for the future of Aotearoa. Knowledge base, lesson plans and a variety of books for a minor membership contribution.