We teach philosophy to all of our children from Reception to Year 6. All children from Reception upwards are introduced to challenging ideas, predominantly through stories and poems that focus on ‘big ideas’ about life and the universe. We look for deeper meanings using discussion, questioning, debate, role play and pupil presentations.
The practice of philosophical enquiry makes schooling a lot more meaningful and engaging for children. It promotes the development of reasoned argument and higher-order thinking – skills which underlie learning in most other domains (including literacy and numeracy) and which are essential for responsible civic engagement.
We believe that by setting children on a path of philosophical enquiry early in life, we can offer them irreplaceable gifts: an awareness of life’s moral, aesthetic and political dimensions; the capacity to articulate thoughts clearly and evaluate them honestly; and the confidence to exercise independent judgement and self-correction. Further-more an early introduction to philosophical dialogue fosters a greater respect for diversity and a deeper empathy for the experiences of others, as well as a crucial understanding of how to use reason to resolve disagreements. By continually questioning, challenging and evaluating ideas, children at Windlesham are starting to see for themselves why some arguments fail while others bear up under scrutiny.