Philosophy For Kids

I have been involved in the Philosophy for Kids (P4K) movement for two years. My undergraduate student at Rollins College have paired with four local schools to work with children, ages 3-11. In that time, we through trial and (much) error developed the resources on this site. I hope you find them useful. We started out following the model set out in Tom Wartenberg's Big Ideas for Little Kids. Each course built on the last, as we adapted Wartenberg's methods for use with younger children.
  • Socrates and the Art of Living (Spring 2015): We worked with the 5th- & 6th-grade gifted class at Fern Creek Elementary School. Primary texts all centered on Socratic Ethics. Due to a scheduling confusion, our community partner had to pull out of two-weeks' work of meetings. So we took lesson plans designed for 10- & 12-year-olds and tried them out on 3- & 4-year-olds at Rollins Childhood Development Center (CDC). It was a disaster. But we saw the potential. Working closely with the CDC's Director, Dr. Sharon Carnahan, and Head Teacher, Diane Terorde-Doyle, we made a more purposeful attempt the following term...
  • Philosophy for Kids (Fall 2015): Students in this first-year-seminar worked briefly with 1st- to 6th-graders at the Walden Community School as a kind of trial run. We then spent significant time with 3- and 4-year-olds at Rollins' CDC. We had more luck with the 4's  than the 3's. We were also surprised to find that art project, far from getting in the way of discussion, actually helped facilitate it. Primary Texts covered a range of issues from Ancient and Modern Philosophy. By the end, we developed a new lesson template that was put to use the following term...
  • Revolutions of the Mind (Spring 2016): We worked simultaneously with 1st- to 6th-graders at the Walden School & just the 4-year-olds at the CDC. Primary Readings covered a range of periods. This term we were happy to welcome Tom Wartenberg to campus as a Visiting Scholar to visit our schools and give a public talk. By the end, it was pretty clear to all involved that it is possible to do philosophy with 4-year-olds. These particular 4-year-olds, however, were mostly professors' kids, so it was less clear what the broader implications of the project would be. This set the agenda for the following term...
  • Virtue In Civic Education (Fall 2016): We cut our ties to older children and worked exclusively with a group of 30 4-year-olds at the Winter Park Day Nursery, a Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) 3 blocks from campus. Primary readings centered on Virtue Theories from a range of Greek and Roman authors. At the end of term, students produced a book of 8 model lessons for use with Preschoolers (below). Reflecting on our work in these various schools, Diane Doyle and I have written a short how-to piece for pre-school teachers, "The 3 Rs of Thinking" (below). We are currently working on publishing a longer piece, "Prepare Carefully and then Wing It: An Experiment in Preschool Philosophy", laying out of discoveries.
Erik Kenyon,
Dec 14, 2016, 12:24 PM
Erik Kenyon,
Dec 14, 2016, 12:22 PM