Little Kitten – UNESCO on Philosophy for Children

For those continuing research and interested in Philosophy for children, here’s the UNESCO report, in pdf form from May 2006:

La philosophie dans le monde Niveaux prescolaire et primaire Etat des lieux, questions vives et recommandations – “Philosophy in the world, Levels Pre-School and Primary – Appraisal, Lively Questions and Recommendations” by Michel Tozzi.

…When it was founded Lipman’s programme (consisting of 6 full-length stories and teacher manuals) was the only systematic curriculum in philosophical inquiry for 6-16 years, and therefore, naturally, provided a model for other countries, many of which translated the material. However, in succeeding years some countries have developed different materials for use in schools, and most countries have their own teacher training programmes.

There is, then, diversity and continuing dialogue within ICPIC about the principles and best practices of philosophical inquiry with children. It would be fair to say that the concept of ‘communities of inquiry’ binds most practitioners together, but there are some members, coming perhaps from more didactic traditions of philosophy, who hold the flag for some more direct teaching and modelling of philosophical inquiry as well as encouraging children to take responsibility for asking their own questions and interrogating each other’s concepts and beliefs.

In the words of Lipman, to conclude, ‘philosophy is the spirit of inquiry’, and what ICPIC offers children – and the educational world at large – is a refreshment of the principles and practices of education. That is to say, it sees healthy learning in any subjects not as a routine task of absorbing prescribed facts but as an expression and fulfilment of a person’s natural curiosity or will to inquire – which itself is nothing other than ‘philosophia’, the love of wisdom.

Then, however, it adds one extra, vital dimension for the 21st century – when the international community is torn by callous deeds, such as ‘9/11’, and by careless language, such as ‘clash of civilisations’ and ‘war on terrorism’, and when even national communities are torn by perceived cultural tensions. That dimension, inherent in the notion of ‘Community of Inquiry’, is the value of dialogue in enabling individuals in the community to understand each other better, and thereby to understand and co-construct the world better”.

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Filed under Cool stuff, Education, Links Elsewhere, Parenting, philosophy

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