Philosophy for Children

I attended a mini-conference on Philosophy for Children at the Pacific Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association in April 2011. Another way of thinking of “P4C” is doing philosophy in “the schools,” or “pre-college” philosophy. The idea is not (or not simply) to teach texts in the philosophical genre to pre-college students, but more to teach philosophical ways of thinking. Sometimes this is done with very young children by reading children’s books and asking them questions to generate discussion. As a philosopher, and as the parent of a preschooler, this whole thing sounds absolutely essential. Why isn’t this more popular? Here are some great websites on P4C (see links on some of these sites for more…there are lots of great sites out there!):

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry:

“Teaching Children Philosophy” page, by Thomas Wartenberg, complete with an ever-growing list of children’s books and questions to go along with them to generate discussion:

Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children at Montclair State University:

Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children (at Univ of Washington):

PLATO: The Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (sponsored by the APA’s Committee on Pre-College Instruction in Philosophy):