Philosophy For Children
Bondi Public School Philosophy Program
In philosophy it’s not what to think but how to think. Student, 8
Bondi Public provides a Philosophy Program to all students K-6 on a weekly basis. Kate Kennedy White, an accredited teacher and FAPSA trainer (fapsa.org.au) leads the program within the school. Classroom teachers are also trained in the methodology of philosophic inquiry.
Why do we do philosophy at Bondi Public School?
Just as we learn to speak and read, we also learn to think. But do we think well? Are we self critical, aware of our prejudices, generalizations and assumptions when we produce an argument. Do we reason logically?
At Bondi Public School we value learning to think well. We consider being a creative and critical thinker not as an optional extra but fundamental to all learning. The Philosophy Program provides our students with the capacity to articulate and evaluate their thoughts clearly and to have the confidence to exercise independent judgement.
I’ve started to actually solve arguments and problems with philosophy. And it works better than violence or anything else. Student, 10
The new Australian Curriculum places Critical & Creative Thinking as one of the foundational pillars in all Learning Areas acknowledging that these are essential skills for living and working successfully in the 21st century. Extensive research indicates that teaching philosophy from an early age is highly effective in achieving this.
Philosophy liberates students from unquestioning, uncritical mental habits in order that they better develop the ability to think for themselves. Matthew Lipman.
What is in the Philosophy Program?
Philosophic inquiry is not a subject but a methodology to develop student’s critical and creative thinking. Within a rigorous collaborative environment, students explore abstract concepts and contestable questions and develop the skills of deep inquiry and good reasoning using a range of explicitly taught thinking tools. These thinking skills include asking open ended questions, reason giving, logic and reasoning, conceptual exploration, developing and testing criteria using example and counter example, examining contestable statements, noting assumptions and generalizations, making distinctions, appreciating classification systems and problem solving. These skills transfer to all other Learning Areas and underpin and overlap all other aspects of school life.
Studying philosophy cultivates doubt without helplessness, and confidence without hubris. Michelle Sowey, Director The Philosophy Club
Philosophy for children has been widely practiced in more than 30 countries for more than half a century with overwhelming evidence that it enhances students’ cognitive, affective and social skills particularly in the areas of Numeracy and Literacy. A comparative academic study done at Burundi Primary School in Brisbane showed that children exposed to Philosophy once a week for one year raised their IQ by 6 points and that this score remained when tested two years later.