Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a teaching method that allows children and teenagers the opportunity to discuss philosophical questions and practise their critical thinking skills in a safe and non-judgemental environment. We run it every year at camp and it consistently proves to be a favourite among the campers. To read more about P4C, click here. To book your child’s place at Camp Quest 2017, click here.
by Dianna Moylan
In an increasingly secular society where many claims are made that traditional values are being lost, the development and use of Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a vital tool in helping adults work with young people to help them get in touch with their innate sense of right and wrong.
A sense of ‘fairness’ seems to be part of everyone’s make-up. Little children frequently declare that it is ‘not fair’ and they seem to know what is later forgotten, as the demands of the world close down on them. We should all be able to expect equal treatment from others, and should be able to treat others as we would expect to be treated.
A P4C discussion, carefully led, will allow the participants to express their feelings about interpersonal behaviour. Philosophical subjects, such as ‘beauty’, ‘honesty’, ‘justice’, morality and ethics in all their forms can take centre stage and be explored in an accessible and age-appropriate way. The person running the session can enable people to speak openly of their feelings and beliefs in a non-threatening way.
Central to all of this is the understanding that there are very few absolute rights and wrongs. To begin to understand the minefield in which the thinking person operates, is the beginning of responsible adult thinking. Observing the considerate manner in which participants allow others to express themselves can be a delight.
It is a process I am delighted I have been part of, and would feel at a loss if told I could no longer continue. The effect P4C has on young people is sometimes very clear. Some return to their parents significantly changed, they tell us.
For those who do not simply jump to attention when confronted with a set of immovable life rules, but who come to understand the morals and ethics that underpin our ability to live with others, P4C is a wonderfully powerful tool.
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