Are Children Capable of Philosophical Thinking
PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN – Community Interest …
The educational movement known as Philosophy for Children got itsstart in the early 1970s with the publication of Matthew Lipman’sphilosophical novel for children, Harry Stottlemeier’sDiscovery. In 1970 Harry made its entry into theMontclair Public Schools in New Jersey. By the mid-70s the Institutefor the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC) was formally inplace at Montclair State College (now Montclair State University). Themedia quickly picked up on reports of significant improvements in thereading and critical thinking skills of middle school children whowere involved in IAPC programs. Subsequently, IAPC has producedmaterials consisting of Lipman’s children’s novels and, under theleadership of IAPC colleague Ann Margaret Sharp, accompanying teacherworkbooks for the entire K-12 curriculum. Thousands of children in NewJersey, across the United States, and even around the world have beenintroduced to IAPC educational programs.
What is "Philosophy for Children"
An unassuming 96 page novel for middle-school children, HarryStottlemeier’s Discovery features Harry and his 5thgrade classmates. Adults occasionally enter in, but the primaryphilosophical work is the children’s. Harry and his friends discoverseveral basic concepts and rules of Aristotelean logic; and theypuzzle over questions about the nature of thought, mind, causality,reality, knowledge and belief, right and wrong, and fairness andunfairness. The story does not introduce any of the special vocabularyof philosophy (not even the word ‘philosophy’ itself makesan appearance). Philosophical inquiry is initiated by the children inthe story rather than adults.