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Philosophy For Children

Why do P4C?

"P4C aims to help children become more thoughtful, more reflective, considerate and reasonable individuals" Matthew Lipman, a founder of P4C. 


Research (please refer to for details) shows that P4C supports the development of children's cognitive, speaking, listening and reasoning skills. This, in turn, results in improved English and Maths outcomes.


P4C also promotes personal, social and emotional growth of individuals, boosting confidence and self esteem. Children are given the time and space to learn how to manage their emotions appropriately, as well as allowing them to become more understanding towards one another.


The main principles of a P4C discussion are:

 It's ok to change your mind.

 It's ok to disagree as long as you are respectful.

 Everyone's ideas are valued.


The adult also focuses on developing P4C 4C's thinking:

Caring - understanding others and being respectful of different opinions.

Collaborative - finding solutions together.

Creative - making connections and thinking of new ideas.

Critical - understanding what we think and why.


P4C also specifically promotes the school values, where we encourage children to be... 


Curious -  Children are encouraged to ask questions about the world we live in.

Independent – Children forward their own ideas, and argue their own reasoning, coming to conclusions on their own individually or as a group, in contrast to simply being told.

Articulate – Children share their opinions with each other, build upon each other’s ideas. 

Take a look at some of our enquiries...



Our Goldenhill Primary Academy Curriculum is designed with the intent to maximise the potential of all of our pupils; intellectually, socially, morally, emotionally and culturally.  We take every opportunity to encourage a love for learning within all of our pupils, based around a resilience for learning and achieving greatness.  Most importantly we allow our children to learn in a safe and stimulating environment, where their views are valued.


Philosophy for children (P4C) is an opportunity for children to come together as a whole class on a weekly basis to provide a platform for discussion. These sessions allow every child to speak freely without feeling pressure in an inclusive atmosphere. It gives the children a chance to voice their opinions and listen to their peers in a structured and nurturing environment. The aim of P4C at Goldenhill, is to develop children’s oracy and vocabulary, increasing confidence when speaking in front of a groups, to increase concentration span and to develop their thinking skills. P4C  helps children to become more critical thinkers and encourages them to transfer their philosophies into their written work. It is also a chance for children to raise topics that they are particularly interested in and are relevant to them.

The approach fostered through P4C will help to develop higher levels of self-esteem and intellectual confidence for both Foundation Stage, KS1 and KS2 children. Pupils learn the skills to be clear in their thinking so that they can explain their ideas, give good reasons for their views and develop their vocabulary. It teaches patience, respect to others and a better understanding of the world around us.




P4C promotes an enquiry based curriculum where pupils are encouraged to ask questions and find the answers through discussion of social values.  Therefore, children develop the ability to recognise differences and explore these constructively. P4C is taught weekly through stand-alone lessons as well as through opportunities for purposeful cross curricular links. P4C plays a vital part in our mission to promote the development of vocabulary by giving children engaging topics to discuss.


P4C begins in nursery, where children start to explore questioning and the appropriate language to use when having a conversation. A primary emphasis is on children learning when it is their turn to talk and actually listening to others. In KS1,  children are able to discuss topics that are related to other curriculum areas and have time to rehearse vocabulary and critically discuss upcoming issues. In KS2,  P4C develops to encompass world and current affairs as well as social issues that may have direct influence upon the children lives. By this stage, children are able to debate issues using their developing skills and language.


Children learn through the 10 steps of philosophical enquiry:

  1. Getting Set – a group activity
  2. Presentation of a Stimulus
  3. Private Reflection
  4. Shared Reflection
  5. Formulation of questions
  6. Airing of questions
  7. Selection (voting)
  8. First Thoughts
  9. Building Ideas Together
  10. Final Thoughts


A typical philosophy lesson starts with a game and then the children being given a stimulus, such as a picture book, a video or a piece of music or artThey will create a list of philosophical questions inspired by the stimulus – anything from, ‘Are friends more important than family?’ to, ‘Is it ever okay to steal?’ – and vote on which one to talk about. The class then has an ‘enquiry’ – an open dialogue – around that question.




Each lesson finishes with a debrief of enquiry.  Here the children decide what has worked well and what could be improved.  This is a fantastic opportunity for the children to self-assess themselves and their new learning and understanding.  Each lesson builds on the previous and children’s skills are improved upon throughout each topic. It is also clear to see the progression of skills throughout the school through the children’s ability to discuss complex questions. 


The impact of P4C is to help pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development equipping them to be thoughtful, caring and active citizens in an inclusive school and in a diverse wider society. It will also prepare them to enter secondary education with the ability to think and articulate their opinions independently.

Subject and school leaders monitor the impact of our curriculum provision through completing regular monitoring, that includes listening to the voice of our children.

Spot and Stripe - Age 4-7 - 16. Friends

Spot and Stripe love to argue about juicy questions. In each short video, they ask a question, explore a few reasons on either side and invite children to co...

Spot and Stripe - Age 4-7 - 19. Letters or Numbers?

Spot and Stripe love to argue about juicy questions. In each short video, they ask a question, explore a few reasons on either side and invite children to co...