P4C (Philosophy for Children) at Mayflower

In an ever-changing world, children’s thinking and communication skills will play a vital part in their future. At Mayflower, we teach P4C, an approach designed to enhance these skills, as well as boost children’s self-esteem and support their academic development. As well as the well-researched impact of P4C on reading, writing and maths attainment, it enables children to think more deeply, develop confidence and patience, enhance their self esteem and become more skillful thinkers and communicators. We want every child at Mayflower to go out into the world as a critical thinker, who can challenge and questions ideas insightfully and respectfully.

In P4C, the teacher will share with the class ‘a stimulus’, such as a story, short film, image or object (these link to curriculum topics where appropriate). From this stimulus, the children are supported (with increasing independence) to pose big philosophical questions. Philosophical questions are ones which can have more than one valid point of view, are important in the children’s lives and are open to further questioning and discussing. The children then choose the question they want to discuss and conduct a ‘class enquiry’, where they share their ideas on the question and discuss it. During this enquiry, the teacher supports them to think more deeply about their own opinions and develop their communication and critical skills. Each class from Reception to Year 6 engages in a philosophical enquiry like this weekly, with a focus on developing cycles of enquiries where the children are able to explore more deeply the concepts and topics discussed. 

We invite a P4C consultant to the school each year who holds enquiries with different classes to further develop their enquiry skills. We also hold an annual school-wide P4C week, where every child in every class uses the same stimulus to spark their P4C learning. To support this, daily P4C “Playful ponders” for the whole school encourage the children to think critically. Through this, the school is able to see how the same stimulus or question can spark different thinking from Year 1 to Year 6. 

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