Information about Philosophy with/by Children

Curriculum Materials

The links and address information in this section illustrate existing materials designed for introducing philosophy to young people.

Here is a great video to introduce you to the theory and practice of doing philosophy with children:

University of Washington Center for P4C

The Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children, Montclair State University
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043; (201) 893-5455
This Program is one of the most developed and articulated approaches to introducing philosophical inquiry to young people.  The entire curriculum runs from preschool through high school and uses novels written to encourage children to question their experiences.  Each novel has an accompanying teacher’s manual which offers guidance and support in helping students and teachers reflect in careful ways on the philosophical issues of interest to the community of learners.  This program does not use the classic texts of philosophical literature but focuses on the ideas rather than the authorities.  The novels currently include the following:

Philosophical Novels written for children    

                                                 Grades targeted                        Range of application

     The Doll Hospital                        preschool                            Pre-K-K

     Elfie                                               1                                K-2

     Kio and Gus                                   2-3                             K-5

     Pixie                                              3-4                               K-5      

      Nous                                              3-4                              3-6

     Harry Stottlemeier’s    

        Discovery                                   5-6                                7-12

     Suki                                            9-10                                 8-11

     Mark                                          11-12                                 9-12

For further information about these texts visit this section of the IAPC web site dedicated to curriculum.  Although Lisa and Suki are listed as designed for middle school, you will find them quite useful for high school students as well.

The Great Books Foundation, 35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2300 Chicago, Illinois 60601-2298; (800) 222 5870.
Mortimer Adler and colleagues at the University of Chicago are responsible  for promoting the idea of reading the significant works of the human mind.  This foundation has developed extensive materials, for elementary and secondary levels, which can be used to promote “shared inquiry.”  The goal is sustained and careful textual analysis along with the enjoyment and celebration of the great works of literature.  Each grade level has a  particular reader which offers a range of short stories and excerpts.  The material is challenging and introduces young people to the most thoughtful and inventive minds across cultures.

SAPERE  This organization, situated in the United Kingdom, has developed some excellent materials for encouraging critical thinking in the schools.

Peter Worley is doing some excellent work in the UK.  Visit his  organization and follow links for more information.

For more information about programs around the country, visit the new APA PLATO Organization page.

Other links to P4C information can be found through our Philosophy Department homepage.  Please visit it.

NEWS: The the American Philosophical Association continues to sponsor panels on pre-college philosophy at each of its three divisional meetings.