Philosophy (P4C) at Ark Byron Primary Academy

At Ark Byron, we use Philosophy for Children (P4C) as an engaging tool for deepening children’s thinking, enhancing speaking and listening skills and developing rational and reasonable pupil voice. P4C fosters a community approach to a spoken enquiry which enables all children to participate in a respectful and safe environment where everyone’s opinion will be valued. P4C provides the opportunity for children to develop a greater understanding of how to become a strong, independent thinker. Alongside with the academic achievements P4C gives each pupil opportunities to develop an understanding about how to be a caring, collaborative, creative and critical thinker. A wider view where P4C and Habits of Discussion are incorporated into the school curriculum promotes life skills (e.g. critical thinking, mindfulness, communication skills) for the future of each pupil.

Most P4C sessions will follow a multi-step process:

  • Stimulus (e.g. video, object, text, image, music, events…)
  • Generation of possible enquiry questions
  • Selection of enquiry question through voting (e.g.secret vote, omnivote, cube voting…)
  • Enquiry
  • Concluding thoughts/possible future actions.

In every class, P4C will:

  • Link to other curriculum areas where appropriate
  • Take place on a weekly basis with P4C lessons and Reading Revolution
  • Take place with children sitting in a circle / facing one another
  • Promote use of philosophical language across the curriculum.

Philosophical language prompts:-

Forms of enquiry language:

  • I think…. because…
  • “Would you rather…?” questions
  • Short enquiries with a familiar stimulus or context
  • I agree with… because
  • I disagree with… because
  • I would like to give an example…

Scaffolded enquiries with pre-chosen concepts or questions:

  • I would like to give an example / counter example…
  • I’d like to raise a new point…
  • I’d like to seek clarification…
  • I’d like to link to…

There is a balance of child-initiated and curriculum-led enquiries. Where appropriate, future actions and follow-up activities are decided upon. We build increasing independence in the running of enquiries with children taking on leading roles.