At Weston Shore Infant School and Weston Park Primary School, P4C (Philosophy 4 Children) is visited in class weekly from EYFS up to Year 6. Children take part in an ‘enquiry’ that can last one, or several sessions.
Our P4C lessons are based on teaching and embedding the four following skills,
- Being caring: Listening to and valuing other peoples’ thoughts, interests and ideas.
- Being collaborative: Working together, building on others ideas and appreciating and understanding that there are different ways of interpreting and thinking.
- Being creative: Making links, connecting thoughts and ideas, suggesting alternative opinions.
- Being critical: Acknowledging that every story and experience is unique, knowing how to question others in a respectful way and being able to reason and give evidence to support our ideas.
Our aim is that through P4C and the teaching of these skills, we can give our children the tools to discuss and debate in an open-minded manner, not only within class but outside school and within their own families and communities.
In a typical P4C session, the facilitator (in most cases this is the Class Teacher) will present the children with a stimulus. This could be a video, a photograph, a story, a short film or even an object or artefact. The children then have to think of concepts that the stimulus invokes.
A concept is usually something that’s abstract – meaning you cannot physically see or touch it. For example, love, happiness, anger or fear.
But they don’t have to be abstract. In short, a concept is something that has pre-conceived ideas connected to it and these can be challenged, discussed and enquired in P4C.
After this, the children generate their own philosophical questions based on one or more of the subjects. To begin with, in EYFS for example, the question making process may be more heavily scaffolded by the facilitator.
However, as children move up through the school they are confident generating these independently. The questions are read out to the class and there is a class vote on which question they would like to base their enquiry on.
The enquiry is then carried out across the remainder of the session and following sessions if needed.
Throughout the enquiry process, we give our children the opportunity to voice their thoughts and opinions in a safe and understanding environment where they are able to develop their confidence, independence, speaking and listening, social and reasoning skills.
Read more about our curriculum.