“Philosophy is fun – even if your head hurts afterwards.”
In Philosophy, children are encouraged to think for themselves when grappling with some ‘big ideas’: Am I the same person I was yesterday? Is punishing people ever right? If animals could talk would we eat them?
They often get to choose the questions. For example, Years 5 and 6 have chosen to explore the concepts ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, asking whether ‘good’ and ‘bad’ exist independently of us or whether our morals just come from our parents and our culture. They especially enjoyed using stories and scenarios to explore consequences and test-out possible solutions to dilemmas. Children are morally serious people who enjoy using Philosophy sessions to discover what they really think, usually after realising that things aren’t always how they first appear to be.
The biggest challenge for young philosophers is learning to provide reasons to support their beliefs and opinions. Like older people, children often express frustration when it becomes clear that in developing their arguments they find they have contradicted their original point. But this is all part of the process of clarifying our ideas and making sure our reasoning is sound. Philosophy is always useful, in the end.
Pupils in Year 5 and 6 have Philosophy lessons and Years 3 and 4 have Philosophy Club. Their heads hurt but they love it!