One of our main aims this year is for all children in our school to have regular P4C sessions to help develop their thinking skills, communication skills and social skills.
In Philosophy for Children (P4C) sessions, children are shown a starter for thinking, such as a story, a picture or a film clip. Prompted by this, children create questions together in small groups. They share their questions and vote on which question they would like to discuss as a class.
The teacher facilitates the discussion of the chosen question by helping children to develop opinions and give supporting reasons; to analyse significant concepts and to search for meaning as a group.
The main principles of a P4C discussion:
It’s OK to change your mind
It’s OK to disagree, as long as you are respectful
Everyone’s ideas are valued
P4C is designed to develop thinking that is:
Caring - understanding others and being respectful of different opinions
Collaborative - finding solutions together
Creative - making connections and thinking of new ideas
Critical - understanding what we think and why
Here are some examples of P4C questions, created by the children, which we have discussed in school:
Should you forgive others?
Is it better to do what you think is right or to follow the rules?
Is it worth risking your life for a friend?
Is the mind more powerful than reality?
Is a human life more valuable than a rat’s?
Can you have too much power?
Research* shows that P4C helps children’s further development in 3 main areas:
Cognitive, speaking, listening and reasoning skills are developed, resulting in improved literacy and numeracy outcomes.
Children are able to give reasons for their opinions and discuss and explore difference and diversity in a reasonable way.
Confidence, concentration and self-esteem are boosted. Children are more able to manage their feelings appropriately and become more understanding towards others.
*see www.sapere.org.uk for more details on research
This year we are introducing six values new values for children and staff to discuss and explore. The aim is for children to be able to use these values to support them to keep healthy, manage relationships, make positive choices and be a responsible citizen: to Live, Love, Learn and be Happy.
Autumn Term: Unity and Appreciation
Spring Term : Respect and Responsibility
Summer Term: Courage and Friendship
The values are introduced and explored by the Head in her weekly assemblies as well as in Key Stage assemblies.
Values are referred to explicitly when praising behaviour.
There is a Values Week once a term where the value is linked to different curriculum areas, eg unity was linked to History and the First World War.
P4C sessions help us to examine these school values. For example we can discuss ‘What is unity?’ and related questions which children may have, such as:
Is life easier when you work in a team?
Should you always play with the same people?
Can friends be different from us?
Is unity a good thing?
If you would like to support our work at home, simply having a short conversation with your child that involves saying what you each think and why is beneficial and fun! You can talk about the book they are reading, what is happening on the news or get them to tell you about what they are discussing in their P4C sessions.