At Haselworth School, we use the Philosophy for Children (P4C) approach to teaching and learning, to help children to develop into effective, critical and creative thinkers and to take responsibility for their own learning in a caring and collaborative way.
During regular P4C sessions, children and their teacher share a stimulus, for example, a story, film clip or picture. They then take thinking time to devise their own questions and together the class chooses one question to enquire into further. Examples of questions we have discussed are ‘is it ever ok to steal?’ or ‘should we always share what we have?’. The teacher, as facilitator, supports the children in their thinking, reasoning and questioning, as well as the way the children speak and listen to each other in the enquiry.
With experience, children’s questions get deeper and more thoughtful. The children’s discussions become more disciplined and focused yet, at the same time, more imaginative. The approach not only helps to develop creative and critical thinking skills but also encourages children to care more about what others say and develop the ability to recognize differences and explore these collaboratively. During weekly P4C sessions, there are opportunities for speaking and listening, turn taking and being encouraged to justify or qualify their thoughts. There is an emphasis on working in a critical but caring way, valuing other’s points of view.
Our whole school approach to P4C is recognised nationally through SAPERE, the educational charity responsible for the development of P4C in the UK. In July 2016 we achieved our P4C Bronze Award in recognition of teachers’ and children’s continuing progress and commitment to the P4C approach. More recently, in October 2017, we were delighted to achieve the Silver Award in recognition of the high quality P4C practice which is integral to our school.
On Friday 14th July, we were visited by four teachers from China! These teachers are starting P4C at their own school in Shanghai and had been told to come to Haselworth School as the work that the children are doing is so good. The teachers firstly observed a P4C enquiry in Year Six before touring the school. They then met with Mrs Steele and Mrs Hosmer to discuss all the philosophical work that we do at our school and how important it is to us. The teachers were very impressed with what they saw and would really like to keep in touch.
Kingfishers Class Outcome
A creative and inspiring outcome to an RE and P4C enquiry about the concept 'flight'
Questions asked by the class included 'are we ever really free?' and 'is there any such thing as freedom of speech?'
'Philosophy for Children' Visitors from Shanghai! 21.11.16
On Monday afternoon we were visited by two teachers from Shanghai in China, Cindy and Stephen. As teachers of P4C in China, they were intrigued to learn how P4C is taught in England. Accompanied by Alison Allsopp, a lead P4C teacher and trainer they spoke to us in Chinese and showed us pictures of Shanghai before we started our enquiry.
The question we were discussing was 'Should we always care for people?' The children were very thoughtful and listened carefully to each other's ideas. They didn't always agree but were very respectful and could explain reasons for their thinking. I was extremely proud of them.
What are we discussing this week?
YR- Would you rather?
Year 1- Is magic real?
Year 2- What is beautiful?
Year 4/5- Can a good choice 'make up' for a bad choice?