This question about whether Philosophy is a good children’s subject may surprise you. We know, that at the moment Philosophy is a high school subject, but What about elementary school? Should they have the smallest Philosophy?
There are currently a lot of teaching material and different experiences, on how to introduce Philosophy in Primary, and its benefits. Fortunately there are many professionals who are doing it even if they are not covered by the subject label.
Philosophy as a children’s subject
All boys and girls have the right to enjoy philosophy from the first years of their schooling, not only those attending private schools. In private school, philosophy is increasingly introduced as a subject in Infant and Primary School.
Philosophical teaching and abstract thinking must be introduced from the earliest educational courses, irrespective of political decisions or specific economic headings. The personal initiative and goodwill of the faculty are importantfor this. But, families also play an important role, as applicants for this subject in public centers, and at the same time as drivers of this thinking in homes.
In order for critical thinking to wake up in secondary school students (where there is, at least for the moment, the subject of Philosophy) it is essential to have encouraged it from Infant. One of the bedside books that many educators follow is Oscar Brenifier’s Practice of Philosophy in Elementary School, suitable as a resource to stimulate children from 3 years of age. This book analyzes different philosophical pedagogical techniques, gives many examples, and proposes workshops.
Example of experience on the subject of Philosophy
The introduction of Philosophy in Primary classrooms, almost always comes at the initiative of a teacher or teacher who is committed to the idea. At Saint Mary’s School, in Seville, they have followed the materials developed by Matthew Lipman as a basis. This is an educational proposal for boys and girls between 3 and 12 years, divided into 38 modules.
To talk about philosophy for children it is essential to have an open mind to innocence and uniqueness with which children interpret reality. Students are provided with resources for questioning about their surroundings. Their critical attitude and tolerance towards diversity of opinions are encouraged .
The methodology followed is playful, participatory. Every day, the “subject” begins with a relaxation exercise, the presentation of the topic to be dealt with, with different resources such as songs, drawings, stories, sayings. And then we pass to reflection, expression, in which the teacher is a pure transmitter. Classes end with a conclusion, phrase, drawing, or gesture.
Ellen Duthie, specialist in the practice of philosophy for children
Most experiences to work philosophy for children, in Spain, are based on the American author Matthew Lipman, however we also recommend the books by Ellen Duthie, creator of Wonder Power, Philosophy a la de tres and Philosophy de tale.
The author argues that it is important to introduce philosophy in school, from a very early age, because philosophy is the basis of curiosity, puts order and gives rigor to curiosity. It is essential as a springboard to other subjects. For her, since the boy or girl begins to talk you can work with them, encouraging the habit of listening, standing to think. At the time when children ask why, it is essential to care and worry, and so often the opposite happens!
This author has created a series of books-games, which come in box, with the loose pages to be able to shuffle them randomly or sort them with the criterion that fancy children. Each page invites you to explore and reflect on a great philosophical topic. This tool has become one of the most useful when it comes to giving the “subject of philosophy”.