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Philosophy for Children (P4C)

What is P4C?


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.

Thinking for yourself through thinking with others

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


4Cs Thinking

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?

Benefits of P4C

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.

Critical reasoning and dialogue

Children are able to give reasons for their opinions and discuss and explore difference and diversity in a reasonable way.

Emotional and Social

Confidence, concentration and self-esteem are boosted. Children are more able to manage their feelings appropriately and become more understanding towards others.

*see for more details on research


A values-led school 

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?

  • Is it OK to be the odd one out?

Help at home

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.

Some thinking games you could play

  • Odd one out
  • Choose 3 objects, pictures, family members, animals etc - which is the odd one out and why?
  • Can you find reasons for each of them to be the odd one out?
  • Connections
  • Choose 10 objects at random. Can you see connections between two different objects, or three (or more)?
  • Good because….bad because ….questions
  • Ask what could be good or bad about different situations, eg
  • If we could hear people’s thoughts
  • If writing was never invented
  • If nobody was allowed to own anything
  • If dinosaurs still roamed the land
  • If we could swap brains with our friends


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