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Centre for Philosophy for Children

Centre for Philosophy for Children

Thinking Playground summer camps
Research projects


What is philosophy for children?

Children, like adults, are philosophically curious. They ask deep questions about concepts and issues that are of central importance to human life and experience.

Philosophy for Children is an educational approach that gives children opportunities to reflect on philosophically rich questions in dialogue with other children. Through teacher facilitated discussions, children learn to support their claims, listen to each other, and think carefully about reasons as they work towards answering philosophical inquiry questions. Typical topics for Philosophy for Children sessions include friendship, change, fairness, self, and freedom. Age-appropriate stories or activities are used to prompt philosophical exploration: Can you be friends with a robot? If you had everything you ever wanted but were in a prison, would you be free? What does it mean to be brave?

Philosophy for Children enhances children’s critical, collaborative, and creative thinking skills, communication skills, and self-esteem, providing an excellent foundation for further learning.  Moreover, philosophical inquiry is valuable in and of itself. Children enjoy and benefit in a myriad of ways from philosophical dialogue and the experience of having their questions and voices heard.

CPC Spotlight

About the Centre for Philosophy for Children

The Centre for Philosophy for Children supports education, community outreach, and the dissemination of research in philosophy for children and the related areas of children’s rights, child development, and childhood studies.

Philosophy for children and academic research

Philosophy for Children as an approach to teaching children reasoning skills began with the work of Matthew Lipman and Ann Margaret Sharp more than 50 years ago. Since their work began, an enormous body of academic literature and research on Philosophy for Children has been published. There are important connections between the ‘philosophy’ in Philosophy for Children and many other academic areas which is why the Centre promotes related research in Education, Psychology, Political Science, Criminology, English, Math, and Science. Questions about child development, children’s rights, democratic citizenship, scientific reasoning, and the goals of education are all relevant to the project and development of Philosophy for Children.