At Slindon Church of England Primary School, our children are taught discrete Philosophy for Learning (P4C) sessions each half term. But the principles of P4C run throughout the whole of our curriculum and can be seen in most of our lessons. We are so proud of how it transforms our children's experience of thinking and learning throughout the school.
P4C aims to get children and adults thinking, questioning and reasoning in four different ways: caring, collaborative, critical and creative thinking.
Children are encouraged to share their thoughts, beliefs and opinions in a non judgmental community of enquiry. They learn to listen and respond and be respectful of each other’s views: the art of caring thinking. Pupils learn that there are many answers to life’s philosophical problems and that the aim of enquiry is to explore all those answers, to reason, discuss and disagree. We place a strong emphasis on reasoning skills and encourage children to put forward strong, thoughtful arguments. With so many perspectives and opinions being backed up with solid reasons they may even find themselves changing their mind about what they originally thought or believed; they learn the art of thinking critically and creatively. Through this dialogue - thinking and talking together, supporting each other to find answers - they learn to think collaboratively. P4C at Slindon is interesting and enlightening, it spurs children on to ask more questions and seek more answers in all areas of the curriculum.
At Slindon Church of England Primary School we have seen how creating an inclusive philosophical community of enquiry has inspired the children's willingness to share ideas, wrestle with reasoning and develop their communication skills. It has had a positive impact on developing speaking and listening skills, confidence, self-esteem and the ability to think critically and reason effectively across the curriculum.
From Reception through to Year 6, children have at least three P4C sessions each half term and enquiry based learning runs through the RE, Humanities and the Science curriculums. P4C compliments the PSHE and RSE curriculum and anchors our pupils in the community and world in which we live, especially when we use current news stories or days of celebration as stimulus for enquiry. As citizens of the world our children have the opportunity to consider big ideas that are relevant to them. Pupils also have the chance to think about other people’s experiences, thoughts and ideas that may at first seem alien to them.
In Chestnut class we watched an edited version of Greta Thunberg's speech to world leaders and came up with some philosophical questions related to the climate crisis. The class voted for the question they would most like to discuss and as their facilitator this week I took some notes on key points to keep the dialogue focused and moving. Our question was - 'Is it possible for everyone in the world to agree to change?'
Greta Thunberg says people should 'not give up hope' about fighting climate change, after criticising the UK government for not taking meaningful action.
"We can still do this," she said, speaking at the Youth4Climate summit in Milan, Italy.
"Change is not only possible but urgently necessary.
"This is not the time to give up," she added.