Across the whole school we are introducing Philosophy for Children (known as p4C) into our regular teaching programs. Philosophy for children fits really well with teaching practises already embedded in our school, designed to help students with their critical thinking skills and oral language. What p4C seeks to do is give students another opportunity during the week to use their critical thinking and language skills in a structured way, led and scaffolded by the teacher and other students. A typical p4C session would have the students sitting in a circle and being presented with a stimulus. This stimulus might be a book, a video, an artefact, anything that might stimulate some questions and discussion.
Last week the stimulus for the prep students were all Julia Donaldson books. Julia Donaldson is the awesome author we are exploring during our library session.
The students worked together in small groups to think of questions that they had about the stories; such as (In the Gruffalo) ‘I wonder why the mouse was so scary? The students then picked the questions they thought would be most interesting to talk about and had a conversation, sitting in the circle, about the question chosen. It was exciting to hear the student’s ideas and thinking and we look forward to building the students thinking and language skills as the year progresses.
This week the students looked at the picture below before coming up with questions that they ‘wondered about’.
Where did the picture come from?
What is the boy doing holding a ring and a stick?
Why is Mrs Smith showing us this picture?
Do you think the children will play with each other?
Are they the only toys that the kids had?
The stimulus and the discussion that followed with the students sitting in a circle was very interesting. It led to students giving their opinions with reasons, agreeing and disagreeing (again with reasons), questioning whether a stick could be used as a toy, and if so how? They also shared thoughts and ideas about what toys were like in the olden days and why toys make us happy most of the time.
This is only the students second philosophy session but already we are seeing students taking part confidently, listening to each other, speaking clearly in the circle and importantly really enjoying the discussions.
Have a look at the photo below with your child and write a ‘wondering’ in the comments section of the blog.
10 house points for every wondering question posted.
The Prep team.