The Origin

 

 

When we mention philosophy, we naturally think it as an obscure

and mysterious study. We assume that those who learn

philosophy must have excellent thinking skills and insightful

wisdom to the truth of life. If we try to let children learn

philosophy, isn’t casting pearls before swine?

 

For most of us, we think that children don’t have “higher order 

thinking ability”. However, contemporary psychological studies

show that children could actually have unimaginable powerful

thinking abilities. Children may not only be able to study

philosophy, but may also love philosophizing. Philosophy starts

with wonder, and children are at the age of curiosity; therefore,

philosophical education is the best way to enable them to think

freely. On the contrary, by the nurturing of duck-feeding

education, this higher order thinking ability will silently drift

away.

 

Through philosophy for children, we hope to develop their innate

interests in order to think about cosmos, nature, human values

and synthetic thinking power. Although children can think,

they need to communicate with others to develop their

argumentative skills.

 

 

The Development

 

 

Philosophy for children was founded by British Philosopher

Matthew Lipman in about 1970. He found that most university

students were weak at reasoning techniques; therefore, he started

to develop teaching materials and methods for children in order

to enable progress of their thinking skills. Matthew Lipman’s

first published novel, “Harry Stottlemeier’s Discovery”, peaked

the public’s interest and thus: the idea of philosophy for

children was born.

 

In the seventies, the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy 

for Children was found in America; a set of philosophy teaching

materials for primary and secondary curriculum was compiled

which include children’s literature and teachers’handbooks.

Students who joined this program showed significant

improvement in critical thinking skills and comprehension skills.

 

In 1985, educators from different countries founded the

International Council for Philosophical Inquire with Children, and

international meetings of philosophy for children have been held

regularly since then. Besides this, in order to facilitate the studies

of philosophy for children, journals about them were printed one

after the other. Among these, the areas of “Thinking”, “Analytical

Teaching”and “Critical and Creative Thinking”were most 

important. Nowadays, many kindergarten, primary and

secondary schools among 50 countries possess the idea of

philosophy for children including China, Australia, Canada,

Germany, France, Holland, Mexico and Bazil.