Bear with my ramblings for a moment. I promise there is a planning document at the bottom of this post.
This week I was very lucky. I got to go to an Early Years conference that had some inspiring ideas for Understanding the World, Mathematics, ICT, Design Technology and Literacy. The conference was called 'The Really Practical Early Years Annual Conference - Developing Effective Provision for More Able Children in EYFS' and was run by the Lancashire Professional Development Service.
I was particularly inspired by the Key Note Speaker, Rachael Webb (Teaching and Learning Consultant, Primary Science). I had heard she was good from a colleague who had seen her speak before but I wasn't prepared for coming away with three whole pages of ideas to try that I hadn't tried before. All from a one hour session! The tone she set with her session, which was a theme which then ran through the whole conference, was that the key to learning is questioning. Not superficial questioning but in depth quality interactions which put children in the driving seat and us in the role of a facilitator who is helping them to explore the world, their choices and their reasoning. I know. In hindsight that is obvious right? So why do we forget it all the time?
I blame Pinterest personally. And all of the many, many, different choices of approach that are available to us in the EYFS. I do love the flexibility of not having to stick to the National Curriculum like our Key Stage colleagues but it can seem overwhelming that, in dealing with the woolly Development Matters, we are left swimming in a sea of Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Curiosity Approach, Pie Corbett, Dough Disco, Finger Gym, In The Moment Planning, Helicopter Stories, skills based, schema based, hessian clad sea of uncertainty. I do love all of those things in themselves but all together? No. Choose between? How?
In P4C I have found a wagon I can hitch my cart to. Because the underlying principles seem to be the ones that came out in every session I attended in the Early Years conference. That what children need from us in the early years is to learn new words, to hear and ask questions, to respect and care for each other and to make choices. We should be asking "what if?", "what do you notice?" and "what do you think?" We should be encouraging children to observe and explore, wonder and ask questions, look for similarities and changes. More than anything else we should just enjoy talking to our tots and having high quality interactions. The tiny window in which their brains and personalities are filled with wonder and unencumbered by societal expectations is the tiny window that we are privileged enough to peer into. The Early Years conference reminded me why I am striving to have a philosophical teaching approach in my daily life.
So get stuffed Pinterest!!! (Until I need some inspiration again and then I will admit I still love you. We were just on a break ok?)
My P4C planning this week was born from an idea that was suggested in the Early Years Conference (in which P4C wasn't even mentioned), proving my point (to myself) that P4C is transferable into all areas of the EYFS classroom.
So here is my P4C planning (using my QUESTS approach) for this week which could just as easily be used for an Understanding the World or Communication and Language activity.
Would a worm make a good pet???
Our school is currently working towards the Silver Award and this week our trainer, the lovely Gina of Little Chatters, was in for a day. At the end of the day she did a training session for staff. There were two things which particularly struck me in this week's training session which will inform my planning and practice as I continue on our journey with P4C.
Gina did a fun starter activity with us using a rope which was a full circle and had a knot in it. The starter activity was a game in which one person had to stand in the middle of the circle and it was up to everyone else to work as a team to conceal the knot. At the end the person in the middle had to guess where the knot had ended up. Gina then talked about different ways to use this technique including as a way for each person in an enquiry to have their final words. It is this that I plan to use in some of my enquiries from now on with my 3-4 year olds. They will love it.
This then led me on to thinking about the 4Cs and in particular collaboration, as both of these uses of the knot have a heavy foundation of collaboration. I started to think of all the ways in which we already collaborate during our day in the classroom.
This led me on to thinking about how one of the trickier parts of my enquiries (which is probably the easiest part for older children) is explaining the 4Cs at the start of each session. Caring, Critical, Collaborative and Creative. The words are self explanatory to most people (although I am sure, like me, most of you have suddenly gone blank when asked to give examples or definitions in your own teacher training sessions) however they are not so easily understood for a 3 year old.
So I am taking a new approach. I am going to put four sheets up on my P4C display board which are blank apart from the 4Cs. A sheet for each C. Myself and the other practitioners can then add examples throughout the day of how the children have displayed these skills during their normal play. We can then start using these words more regularly throughout our normal sessions to encourage children to begin to have a broader understanding of what they mean. "I loved listening to you on your superhero adventure. It was really creative when you made a machine to freeze people", "Let's work together to tidy up everyone - let's collaborate", and so on. That way the children will hopefully have a more embedded understanding of what the 4Cs actually mean both in practice and in enquiries by the time they move on through to Reception Class.
The second thing I took away to work on was as a result of a good friend's work in her P4C session this week (which was observed by Gina). This was an enquiry for a group of 4-5 year olds based on Beauty and the Beast and what the meaning of 'beauty' is. This was based largely on examining the characters of Beast and Gaston and a discussion of 'what is beauty?', looking at inner and outer beauty. The planning and session were actually a lot more in depth than I have described here but for my purposes of this post those are the important parts.
The class had a Forrest School session based on ephemeral art planned for the afternoon and, after discussion with Gina, the teacher decided to continue her exploration of 'beauty' through that session. The children first collected things and put them in one of two hoops (I love a good hoop in P4C!). One hoop for 'beautiful' and one for 'not beautiful'. As they found some rubbish during their session this further helped the discussions. Each child was then told to make a piece of ephemeral art that depicted 'beautiful' or 'not beautiful' then the class went around to discuss whether they thought the artist was trying to depict 'beautiful' or 'not beautiful'. Again the session was more in depth than I have described here but you get my point. What I took from hearing about this was two things which will inform my future practice.
1. I need to do more concept work. I do explore concepts then return to them in greater depth at later times but I think that I could do this better. With my age group, in particular, I think I need to drench them in a concept for a short period of time rather than sprinkling them with it throughout the year. I think that next academic year I will chose a concept for each half term and base my enquiries around that concept so that we can really pick apart and examine what that concept means over a shorter but more intense period. I can then refer back to that concept throughout the year.
2. It is perfectly possible to have P4C as a way of working all the time and not just for enquiries. If you have read some of my other posts you will see that I am already a big fan of embedding a P4C approach in every part of teaching and parenting and think that we already instinctively do this but I am only just figuring out HOW to do this in more of a premeditated way. Thanks to the example above and the work and advice of other practitioners in different settings and on P4C forums I am starting to see how this really can be an approach to Early Years practice and this is something I am going to continue to study and work towards in my own classroom.
Have fun with your quests and questions this week all. May the P4C force be with you!
Both scary and exciting, transitions are something that our children have to deal with every year. Here are a few ideas for enquiries and activities.
Transitions, new classes, new schools
We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen is one of my personal favourites when it comes to picture books and works with all ages. Here are some possible activities and enquiries.
Julia Donaldson is a firm favourite in most Early Years classrooms. Here are some possible enquiries and activities.
Here are some enquiry starters and some linked activities that you could use as you celebrate spring.
Here are some enquiries and activities to do this Easter
Here are some activities that you could explore in or after your enquiries during Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
The New Year offers up a few opportunities for talking about the year passed and the year to come.
New Year’s Resolutions
During pantomime season it is a great time to explore some traditional tales.
Traditional Tales (Pantomime season)
Rainy and Windy Weather
Winter is a time to explore some wonderful celebrations through P4C enquiries along with some fun activities and enhancements
Autumn brings so many opportunities for seasonal enquiries and enhancements. Here are just a few.
Here are some enquiry prompts and ideas that can be used in the summer months. For this age group they are best used either as they join you in September or in July just before their summer holidays.
You can use P4C easily in your classroom as a tool to help new starters get to know each other and begin to explore some rules of the setting. Here are some ideas of enquiry questions and enhancements.
Making Friends - Questions, Books and Activities
Making Rules - Questions, Books and Activities
By the age of 3-4 years old a typically developing child will be talking using simple sentences. Many children will be using more complex sentences using words like ‘and’ and ‘because’. They will be starting to understand simple questions and will be asking questions of their own. Most prolifically ‘why?’ Most children will now be experts at role play and imaginary play and will have absorbed three to four years of language, stories, television and song. They will be able to understand emotions when supported and starting to understand that their own actions can have an effect on other people’s emotions.
Although they will not necessarily have the best moral judgement themselves they do now have a sense of justice, most often knowing when something is ‘bad/wrong’ or ‘good/right’ and, being the most pressing issue in a young child’s life, the concept of fairness. This will usually raise it’s head with both unreasonable requests (‘I want a big chocolate bar not a small one. That’s not fair’) and those that are more reasonable (‘He isn’t sharing. It’s my turn’).
Also on their personal and social development they will be starting to be able to imagine themselves in other real life scenarios. For example they can imagine then answer the question “How would you feel if you got lost?” which they probably weren’t able to do in their toddler years. They can also understand and answer more complex questions more effectively, though the answers may conform to their own child logic and not necessarily to the logic of adults.
Philosophical Skill – Listening and Attention
Philosophical Skill – Imagination and Social Skills
Philosophical Skill – Problem Solving
Philosophical Skill – Language Development.
Philosophical Skill – Problem Solving and Making Choices
Philosophical Skill – Question Words
Philosophical Skill – Imagination and Awareness
Philosophical Skill – Counter Realities.
Ah toddlers. Tiny little dictators with great big emotions. It is the toddler years where you first get a glimpse of a child’s true personality. They have done their learning on how to be alive and survive. They have learnt so, so much over the first two years of their life and now (oh no!) they have learnt that they are a master of their own fate. Now the curiosity is really ready to kick in.
Toddlers are entering such an amazing phase of childhood. They go from being little sponges who pleasantly take in the world around them to independent, stubborn, excitable souls. They are so happy and delighted that their knees go wobbly from laughter. They are so excited that they squeal. They run and spin as fast as they can. They are so angry that they have to scram and kick and throw things. They are so devastated that they sob their heart out with big fat tears rolling down their cheeks and a “why, why, why?” look on their little face. They are so in love that they can’t bear not to be in physical contact with you or a beloved toy. They are so filled with hate that if the cat comes any closer they will absolutely pull it’s tail and shout “NO CAT” at it. Toddlers really are discovering all of the emotions that the world has to offer. All those emotions you have spent the last two years teaching them about are now being experienced and they understand the words you use to describe them but cannot yet manage them.
It is around this age that toddlers really get a hold of imaginary play too. They have little adventures with figures or cars, they make you pretend cups of tea or use boxes as boats. They take all of the things they have seen on television or heard in stories and build the storylines, narratives, characters and situations into their play. They are beginning to learn about what is real but also have the ability to imagine other ‘realities’ and put themselves into different character roles as they begin to learn and practise empathy. A lot of their role play is based on things they have seen or experienced themselves and this is a philosophical skill too – to build up opinions and a bank of knowledge based on your own experiences.
Toddlers are problem solvers too. They get a car stuck in a play garage and will try different ways to get it out. They want a biscuit from a shelf in the cupboard so will drag something over to climb up and get it. They begin to try to dress and undress themselves. They figure out emotional problem solving as they manipulate adults into behaving the way they want them to. They can look at a toy that they want in the bottom of their toy box and can anticipate different possible approaches, scenarios and outcomes, on a basic level, as they figure out how to get to the said toy.
Toddlers are little philosophers in training so embrace the craziness and have fun with it.
During the first three years, a child's brain triples in weight and establishes about 1,000 trillion nerve connections and this starts from this very moment they are born. Here are the ways in which we are already making our babies into philosophers. You are already doing it, you just need to reframe your thinking a little bit to realise HOW you are doing it.
Philosophical Skill – Curiosity
The parietal lobe in baby’s brain makes them primed to begin to learn about the sensory aspects of their world. You help babies develop their sense of curiosity in everything you introduce them to and there is no better place to start than with their basic physical senses.
Philosophical Skill – Language.
Philosophical Skill – Listening
Philosophical Skill – Social Awareness and Higher Level Thinking
So did I teach you anything you don’t already know? Did I tell you to do anything you aren’t already doing as a parent or Early Years practitioner? I thought not. That is the beauty of a philosophical approach to pedagogy. For the most part you are already doing it, and have been for some time.
Babies are born as natural philosophers. All they have is ‘why?’. They have spent nine months with dulled and filtered lights and noises. The loudest noise they have heard is the constant, predictable beat of their mum’s heart and shwoosh, shwoosh of her blood stream. Then suddenly, without warning, they are thrust into the world; the noisy, bright chaotic world full of sights, sounds and assaults to the senses. They have no preconceptions, no opinions, no language. This lasts for mere seconds.
They instantly begin to soak in the world. It starts from the most basic knowledges – that hurts, that feels nice, that’s interesting. The longer they are in the world the more they soak in and digest. Soon they learn who their special people are, what to do when they are hungry and that they voice makes sound and that sound makes people react. Before you know it the googles, coos and social smiles come and Hey Presto! You have a mini human ready to learn about the world. Sure you won’t get a Socrates worthy enquiry out of them. More likely to get a bit of milky vomit and a loose nappy. You do, however, have a tiny sponge who is ready to learn.
So what better time than to start building a mini-Plato. Guess what – you are already doing it. You fuel their curiosities every day by introducing new experiences, new tastes, textures, smells and sounds. You build their vestibular and proprioceptive curiosity and awareness as you hug them tight, wrap them in sleep bags, bounce them on your knee and carry them around. You build their language as you speak and sing to them. You build their sense of the imaginary as you use silly voices. You show them that their vocalisations have a purpose and effect as you respond to their cries or copy their sounds. This is the time when tiny humans learn that their voice has power. It is the time where they first begin to make personal and social connections.
To begin their philosophical journey we make sure that they spend time looking at faces – ours or other people’s. We pull happy faces, sad faces, angry faces. We mirror their facial expressions. We explore different sights, sounds and textures. We introduce different tastes when they are ready for food. Perhaps opting for baby-led weaning where an awful lot of problem solving goes into your baby figuring out how to get that food to their mouth. Through all of this we talk. We talk to the babies, throwing every word we know at them.
We don’t dumb down what we say in the hope it will be more easily understood. We use all of our words, because if a child does not hear them they will not learn them. If a 6 month old does not understand “happy girl” then what harm will it be to instead say “You are such a happy girl. You are smiling so I know you are happy”? The same message with the same key word emphasised (and repeated) but with thirteen extra words used and a linking explanation – you are happy and I know that because you are smiling. Let’s give our tiny dots those extra words when we can. Not all the time, of course. As parents or practitioners we definitely don’t have time (in our boring adult world) to be keeping up that level of pre-meditated talk all the time. After all there are dishes to be done and assessments to be highlighted and tracked but we can do it more. A lot more, and before you know it it has become a habit.
Children are a bundle of emotions that they often can’t explain. We think we have it bad as adults? Well children have it ten times worse. They can go through a myriad of emotions all in the same day and, usually, have no control over either the emotions (hello terrible twos and teenage hormones) or the events that led to them (missed the bus, lost a toy, boring lesson, fell out with a friend, lost their PE kit and so on).
For toddlers and young children the bad moods are usually fleeting and quickly replaced with a good one but for pre-teens and teens they can often feel like a bottle of coke that has been shaken so many times over the day (forgot a book *shake*, told off for talking in class *shake*, kid next to me in class kept kicking my chair *shake*) that your seemingly unoffensive comment of ‘homework time’ is just that final shake that makes their coke bottle of emotions explode and flow over with no hope of pushing them back into the emotional bottle. We can’t help with all of these little shakes the way we did when they were younger. The best we can do is teach them coping skills.
I know we were all young once, we have all gone through these stages of growing up and we survived, but I think the youth of today get a hard deal. Yes they have the miracle of technology that we never had and most likely they have more money and are more spoilt than we were at their age. Life is sweet. Except it isn’t. I am so happy that I grew up without the social pressures that the internet has brought. I am not here to criticise the internet by any means – there are so many amazing things that it offers both on superficial and deep levels – but by God does it make growing up hard!
The pressures on children and teens to look a certain way and act a certain way are immense. So many children and teens now measure their physical attractiveness and worth in comparison to the latest Instagram stars and trends and measure their popularity in ‘likes’.
Teens and pre-teens are suffering from anxiety, depression, body issues, cyberbullying and a fear of missing out as a result of social media. There is also the ever present risk of grooming and radicalisation. Before the internet these were things which were the rare exception for children and not so much a norm that schools had to run regular refresher training for teachers to be able to be on the look out for. Issues that were previously the territory mainly of older teens and adults are now being experienced by much younger people who have much less life experience and less developed coping skills.
Children and teens are being shown people with seemingly perfect lives, immaculate bodies and expensive things and, due to the sheer number of social media account holders doing this, being given the impression that this is normal. That it is what they should be aspiring to and if they don’t measure up then they are a failure. They are being put into a grass is always greener and I will never be that good mindset which can leave them feeling like they can’t achieve happiness unless they have that money, that body and that number of followers.
As children enter their teens with social media all around them but not the foresight that adults hopefully have (but let’s face it we usually don’t) they are opening themselves up to tiny actions that can have lifelong effects. How many of today’s teens will end up struggling to get the job they want or the relationship they want because of all of the digital skeletons in their past that are no longer in the closet? The photos of them doing something stupid at age twelve that went viral or the rumour that was started about them on Facebook that went around the whole school. In giving children and teens social media, with 24 hour access for those with mobile phones, we have taken our children and put them in the deep dark woods without a map, compass or torch to help.
My greatest wish for my own children and the children I teach is that when they see trends and trend setters on social media they will have the clear mindedness, independence and confidence to be able to mentally filter real from unreal and important from superficial. My hope is that if they ever find themselves in a potential dangerous situation (grooming, cyberbullying, radicalisation) that they have the critical thinking skills to realise that danger and do the right thing and the creative skills to get out of those situations. We can’t be there all the time. We have so little control that it is truly terrifying. Children can become trolls, encouraged and swept along by more forceful friends and the anonymity of the internet. Children can be sitting in the same room as you or in their bedroom being cyberbullied without you even knowing it.
In addition to all of these pressures we also now have ‘fake news’. I know many adults who can’t even discriminate between fake and real news. You will do too. Just have a peep on your Facebook feed now if you have them. How many people are sharing or commenting on four your old stories that were proved to be myths many years ago as if they were today’s news? How many people are asking you to share or like a post and if you don’t then you definitely have proved that you support cancer, child slavery and kicking kittens (and don’t forget the pressuring and slightly peevish claim on each one that ’I bet 92.7% of people won’t share this post’). Then there are the ‘no-one wished this little boy happy birthday because he is disabled’ posts prompting you to wish him a happy birthday and always fake.
Then it gets even sneakier because anyone can edit Wikipedia or write their own blog or opinion piece now and it can be on the internet in seconds. So children who are just starting to use the internet and who are used to everything that is the written word and being presented by an adult is fact, now have the job that some adults can’t manage – the job of filtering what is real and what isn’t. What hope do they have of surviving to adulthood without becoming misinformed fools? Our only hope is to give up trying to talk to them about every possible fake news, rumour, hashtag and trend and instead teach them to be able to think through things logically and begin to make these distinctions themselves.
A philosophy for children approach to both teaching and parenting can hopefully help children to gain the skills they need to survive the online world unscathed, or relatively so.
Being a parent is tough. Children come in all different shapes and sizes – both physically and mentally – and there is no one size fits all approach to parenting them.
You only need to look at the hundreds of different parenting books telling you how to bring up your child to realise that no-one has the one perfect method. By the end of your trek through the Amazon backlist of books from Miriam Stoppard to Dr Spock, via What to Expect, Super Nanny, the Little Book of Sleep, Attachment Parenting, crying it out, Helicopter Parenting, being a Tiger Mum and five thousand different approaches in between, you are guaranteed to feel like a total useless lump with no idea what you are doing. But guess what… it’s all rubbish.
The truth is that all kids are different and a lot of the time, as a parent and often as a practitioner, we are just fumbling our way through the dark trying to find the little chinks of light that will lead us to a clue about what will work with each child. There is no map because all of the chinks are in different places because every child is unique.
I have three children. The two eldest have had an almost identical upbringing with the only variable being that they are the oldest/youngest sibling in the equation. They were brought up to the age of 7 and 9 by two very loving and devoted parents who never fought and spent a lot of time with them when work and school were not in the way. They still have two very loving parents but they also have a very loving step-dad and a very loving partner of dad in the equation. They also see their grandparents regularly who have been as involved in bringing them up as I have.
Apart from a terrible couple of tough years they have lived a charmed life. They both had the same input, went to the same school, had the same teachers, had the same discipline (intrigued by Supernanny when she first graced our TVs we gave the dreaded and offensively named ‘Naughty Step’ a go. The eldest child responded well to this but the youngest just shouted ‘I don’t care’ and peeled the wallpaper off as he waited for his designated ‘1 minute per year of his life’ then went back and did the thing that got him there all over again.
The point I am making is that these boys had exactly the same upbringing but they couldn’t be more different. One is very thoughtful, caring, a logical thinker, giving and sensible. He will work hard and make someone a wonderful husband and father one day. The other is quick, sarcastic, loving and a little mercenary. He will probably make a lot of money one day. I can only hope it will be through invention or innovation and not through white collar crime. My youngest – well he is a different case altogether but then he has had a different upbringing to his older brothers.
So how did they become so different? By being human of course. None of us are the same. There is no one parenting approach that results in the perfectly adjusted child that thinks in a uniform way. There is nothing we can do to build all children into the same thinkers and why should we?
My mum says that if only people would listen to and learn from the generations before them as they are growing up then we would be able to learn from their mistakes and avoid making them. We would evolve generation by generation and have happy lives with no debt and wonderful relationships and careers. Hindsight is 20/20 vision. But we don’t, that isn’t human nature at all.
Once children reach a certain age they begin to think that maybe their parents just don’t understand the modern world at all and their advice can’t be valid. So the best thing we can do, if we can’t pass down that knowledge, is to create good thinkers so that they can come up with the best solutions themselves. Children who will become adults that are creative, critical, collaborative and caring. The 4Cs. So maybe I will try a P4C approach to parenting. Wish me luck!
Maybe you are reading this as both a practitioner and a parent or maybe you do not have children of your own but want to know how to explain to parents why you are doing philosophy with their child. Because let’s face it, it sounds crazy. Totally nuts. Some of those parent’s might need a bit of convincing so it would be nice to get in their mind for a moment to see or remember what the life of a parent is like.
When my first son was born I looked at him and knew that I didn’t need anything else in the world. He was a little miracle. I know my feelings weren’t unique. My mum says that when I was born she whispered the same words to me, “you’re all that I need in the world.” Then along came my babies number two and number three and exactly the same feelings flooded in. The bubble of “you are all that I need in the world” just grew a bit bigger to fit them all in. From those first moments I marvelled at the wonder of creation.
Yeah, yeah. I know it is science really, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, but let me wander down this path for a while please. Shut off your scientific brain and turn on the philosophical part. Creation is a marvel. Two completely different cells from two completely different humans come together and become the start of something. Apparently there is, on average, about a 3% chance of that even happening for someone who is not actively trying to conceive. Ok the numbers are far more complicated than that, of course, but that is the basic overview.
So, wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, two cells get together and a baby begins. But then it needs to successfully implant and those cells need to combine just right that growing begins and continues. So everything is going swimmingly. This is a baby who is destined to be born. In the time between conception and birth that baby grows limbs, it makes a brain – an actual brain that is capable of thought! Tiny fingerprints are made that no-one else on the planet has in exactly the same configuration – as unique as a snowflake.
Millions of neurons come into existence (possibly – I mean I didn’t actually research this enough to know if there are millions at this point but it sounds like a nice number). Hair grows and is a certain colour, as are eyes – possibly the same as mum or dad, possible a throwback from a generation hundreds of years in the past.
There is so much amazing wonder in this that not even science can take away the magic, in fact those scientists among you may even see the wonder and magic of this even more. From the moment we begin to think about this as we stare at our baby’s face we become philosophers ourselves. The vast unfathomable wonder of it all gives us an insight into how vast, unfathomable and wonderful the natural world is as a whole. In this moment we get a glimpse of what it feels like to be a child and revel in the joy of all the world, knowing that we do not have all the answers.
It is now up to you as a parent, or childminder or baby room practitioner, to take that little miracle and help them to learn about the world. Even better, help them to ask questions, remain curious and wonder.
No matter how different each setting's approach is and no matter what approach is the Pinterest or Instagram trend of the moment they all have a few things in common and you will note that these are things which can all be supported by the introduction of philosophy for children or a philosophy for children style approach.
Te Whāriki is a curriculum guideline originally published in 1996 and revised in 2017 by the New Zealand Ministry of Education and all childcare services in New Zealand are expected to follow it, much like we have the Development Matters document (and all that goes with it) in the UK. The overriding principles are those of empowerment, holistic development, community and family and relationships. It is split into strands of well-being, contribution, belonging, communication and exploration.
In order to understand this curriculum further and to see how it is similar in areas to philosophy for children it is necessary to look at the strands in more detail.
Strand 1 is Well-being and the goal is that children experience an environment that promotes health, nurtures their emotional well-being and in which they are safe. In a philosophy for children sense it would include philosophical explorations of emotions, how we treat others, our own powers of consent and what health means.
Strand 2 is Belonging and is very much focussed on children feeling a part of their family and of the wider community. In a philosophy for children sense it would include exploring what belonging means, our similarities and differences and areas of moral philosophy such as behaviour and justice.
Strand 3 is Contribution and, much like our British Values document for the Early Years, explores children all being equitable, tolerance and individuality. This is an area full of philosophical exploration relating to identity, stereotypes and fair and equitable treatment of others both in the classroom and in society.
Strand 4 is Communication and, much like the Reggio Emilia “Hundred Languages”, this strand values communication in all of its different modes, verbal, non-verbal, creative, expressive or symbolic. This is an area in philosophy which steps into the realms of aesthetic philosophy and also in encouraging effective communicators in whatever communication style is instinctive and comfortable.
Strand 5 is Exploration in which the child learns through active exploration of the environment. This includes exploring the world, their own bodies and capabilities, risk taking and confidence. In a philosophy for children sense it is being confident in their abilities and having the curiosity and resilience to enjoy exploring the world.
Miss Magical Mess is a pre-school teacher and P4C Level 2B facilitator. After a shaky start as a P4C facilitator (P4C with 3 year olds... are you kidding?) Miss Magical Mess created her own approach to P4C and enquiry model and is now a big fan.