Preston South Primary School teaches Philosophy for Children as part of the curriculum from Prep to Grade 6. We use children’s books to teach philosophy through a rich literacy program. Children's books often raise deep philosophical issues and content that support philosophical discussion. Children love to discuss and think about the questions.
We have chosen a set of books that we think are remarkable for their philosophical content.
Doing philosophy with children is a great way to improve their verbal skills. They learn to listen carefully to other students, to formulate their own opinions in a clear manner, and even to defend their opinions against objections from their peers. Doing philosophy builds a real sense of community in the classroom and at the same time, it aids in the individual intellectual development of your students.
As practiced at Preston South Primary School, teaching Philosophy involves the establishment of Communities of Inquiry.
Marcus Pfister’s book, The Rainbow Fish , for example, raises questions such as; Should we change ourselves in order to be popular?, Is it important to please other people?, What makes something beautiful?, Is vanity a weakness?, Is popularity the same as being liked?
These are issues that puzzle and excite children, and their ideas continually surprise and excite us!
The teacher, as facilitator, supports the children in their thinking, reasoning and questioning, as well as guiding how the children speak and listen to each other. After the enquiry the group reflects on the process and how they might improve it; either as individuals or as a group (community).
There is a large and growing body of research that considers how the teaching of Philosophy supports children’s high level literacy skills and cognitive, social and emotional development. Some of the recognised benefits include the following:
Caring skills - listening to and valuing the views and contributions of others.
Collaborative skills - responding to and supporting others (e.g. building on each other’s ideas, shaping common understandings and purposes). Learning effective approaches for conflict resolution.
Critical thinking skills – questioning, evaluating and applying reasoning. Considering evidence, reasons, distinctions, and good judgement.
Creative skills – making connections, providing comparisons, examples, criteria, alternative explanations or conceptions.
High level literacy skills- The above processes all strengthen high level literacy.
You are invited to talk to teachers and our Principal regarding our newly established Philosophy program.