Sapere at St Nicholas’ Primary School Oxford by Ian Wallman

At St Nicholas’ Primary School we pride ourselves on being a P4C leading school, having achieved the Sapere Gold Award in April 2021.


Why do P4C?

As a values-led school we believe regular P4C sessions enable us to provide a safe space to explore the true meaning of our core values, as well as current topical issues that we find interesting to discuss & are passionate about.

Our school have been actively involved in P4C for over 9 years. We embarked on our P4C journey with a clear objective – for our children to become critical thinkers who will be ready for the challenges that secondary school and adulthood can bring.  During that time Philosophy for Children has become the heart and soul of our school – it is embedded in everything we do.

Values & P4C is at the heart of what makes our school a special place that stands out amongst the crowd!

P4C sessions allow us time to focus on developing key thinking, communication & social skills.

Research (please refer to for details) shows that P4C supports the development of children’s cognitive, speaking, listening & reasoning skills. This in turn results in improved literacy & numeracy outcomes.

Thanks to P4C we now have a positive reputation at the local secondary schools for producing children who are able to critically reason & discuss their differing opinions, expressing themselves in a very clear & sensible way.

P4C also enables personal, social & emotional growth of individuals – boosting confidence & self-esteem.

Children are given the time & space to learn how to manage their emotions appropriately, as well as allowing them to become more understanding towards one another.


P4C Sessions

As we are a values-led school teachers will ensure they are the focus for some of our P4C sessions.

Every term we have a values focus week which we promote through P4C, as well as a variety of curriculum areas such as art & history.

Our main aim is for all our children to be able to use these core values to make positive choices, build positive relationships & become a responsible citizen – one who truly lives our school motto:

Live, Love, Learn & Be Happy!

P4C sessions  begin with a starter to get everyone thinking, such as a story, picture or video clip. From this stimulus children may then move on to create questions together in small groups. They then share these questions & vote on which one they wish to further explore & discuss as a class.


Here are some examples of P4C questions, created by the children, which we have discussed in school:
  • Should you forgive others?
  • Is it better to do what you think is right or to follow the rules?
  • Is it worth risking your life for a friend?
  • Is the mind more powerful than reality?
  • Is a human life more valuable than a rat’s?
  • Can you have too much power?


The adult facilitates the discussion of the chosen question by helping children to develop their opinions and give supporting reasons; to analyse significant concepts and to search for meaning as a group.


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 at Home

If you would like to explore P4C at home with your child you can do so simply by having a short conversation with them that involves saying what you each think and why about a relevant topic – such as on the book they are reading, current news, or on their current school value class discussion.


Playing games that develop thinking skills are also beneficial & fun, including:


  • Odd one out: Choose 3 objects, pictures, family members, animals etc – which is the odd one out and why? Can you find reasons for each of them to be the odd one out?
  • Connections: Choose 10 objects at random. Can you see connections between two different objects, or three (or more)?
  • Good because….bad because ….questions: Ask what could be good or bad about different situations, for example:
    • If we could hear people’s thoughts
    • If writing was never invented
    • If nobody was allowed to own anything
    • If dinosaurs still roamed the land
    • If we could swap brains with our friends


Further Information


Mrs Rosie Thomson is the P4C Coordinators at St Nicholas’ Primary School.

If you have any questions regarding the teaching & learning of philosophy, or have ideas of how to promote it further, within our school then please don’t hesitate to get in contact.



Home Learning

For everyone who is now home-schooling, this page will be updated weekly with activity packs to stimulate interesting conversations in your family.

Week 9 

For age 3-5

Have you ever planted a seed or grown a plant?
o When do farmers plant seeds, and what would happen if they forgot?
o Are there right times for doing most things?


For age 6-9

Would you like to have a robot teacher at home during lockdown?
o What might robots teachers be best at?
o Why might it be good still to have human teachers?


Age 10+

Share some memories, especially of growing up, maybe even on the phone with grandparents.
o Would we be happier if we forgot the sad times in our lives?
o Would life be much poorer without music and art?




Week 8

For age 3-5

Can anything be art? from What’s the Big Idea, CBeebies – BBC (BAFTA nominated)

Which was your favourite piece of art Hugo was looking at?
o What is your favourite piece of art you’ve done yourself?
o Can you see any examples of art in our home?

For age 6-9

What things do you see in the picture?
o What do you think might be going on?
o Do you think Saint George is doing a good thing or a bad thing?



Week 7

For age 3-5

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury: We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. Will you come too?

o Would you like to go on a bear hunt?
o What if you really did meet a bear in the woods?
o What imaginary expedition would you like to go on, if
you could choose anything you wanted?


For age 6-9

o Would you like to have found the Dangle rope?
o If you could control one thing for everyone in the world, what would it be?
o Is it a good idea to try out things we don’t really understand?


Age 10+

If you saw some piano stairs, would you walk on them? Why, why not?
o Is making things fun a good way to change behaviour?
o What makes some things fun, and some not?

Week 6

For age 3-5

Would you like to go to the zoo with Hannah and the Gorilla?
Can you remember last time when we went out and you really enjoyed it?
What sort of things make you specially happy?

Go on a virtual trip to London Zoo


For age 6-9

Fair Is Not Equal | By Rebecca Michelle

In the picture, why is one side Equal but not Fair, and the other side Fair but not Equal?
When did something last happen to you that you thought was unfair? Why?
o What makes some things fair and other things unfair?

Age 10+

Them That Has, and Them That Don't: Rich vs Poor - News in Cartoons!

What do you think the cartoon is trying to say?
What things do we see in everyday life that relate to the cartoon?
What factors lead to income inequality?
Should we aim for income equality?

Week 5

For age 3 – 5 years

image of kitten looking in a mirror and seeing a lion looking back ...

What do you notice about the picture?
Why do you think the cat looks like a lion in the mirror?
What do you notice about yourself when you look in the mirror?

Fun Activities

Make a list of some other unexpected things that you might see in a mirror. For example:  What might a puppy see? What about a wolf? What about Cinderella, or a wizard?

Draw your favourite idea and explain why you like it so much.

For age 6 – 9 years

Pablo Picasso - Woman at the Mirror, 1959 | Pablo picasso ...

Talking Points

What is the woman seeing in the mirror?
What do you think Picasso had in mind when he painted this picture?
Do you think we see ourselves as we really are?
Would our friends see us the same way?

For ages 10+

Talking Points:

 Do you think Lucian Freud’s work is “shocking and amazing”?
Why do so many artists paint self-portraits?
If you were a famous artist, what would sort of work would you produce?

Week 4

For ages 3-5

Which of these toys would be fun to play with – why?
o Which would be boring to play with – why?
o Do you think other children would think the same as you – why?

For ages 6-9

o How do they try to make the new friend fit in?
o Why do you think they would do that?
o Is it important to be like your friends?
o Is it OK to be the odd one out?

For ages 10+

o What does “like a girl” mean to you?
o Is the way people use the expression fair on girls?
o What would you put in a video called “like a boy”?

Week 3

For age 3 – 5 years

Would you rather?

From the book:
o What sounds like the most fun?
o What sounds the most horrible thing?
o Which musical instrument would you want to play?
o What would like to do tomorrow? Why?

For age 6 – 9 years

Where would you go, if you could go anywhere?
o What would be so good about that place?
o Would you still go if you had to go alone?
o North, south, east west – is home best?

For age 10+ years

In normal times, would you hug a stranger?
o What makes us trust or distrust other people?
o Will you hug people again after social distancing
is over?

Week 2

For younger children:

Talking points
o What made the tree happy?
o Did the boy get too greedy?
o Does giving people things make you happy?
o Is there a tree that you really like?


For older children:

Talking points
o Who were the Beatles?
o What do you notice about the people, clothes,
musical instruments in the video?
o Is love all you need?
o What does it mean to love someone?

Week 1

For younger children:

Talking points
o Why should we share?
o Does one good turn deserve another?
o When things run short, should you think of
others’ needs?

For older children:

Talking points
o What does friendship mean?
o Does what you say depend on where you say it?
o Is it OK to behave the same way, wherever you are?

Sapere at St Nicholas’ Primary School Oxford by Ian Wallman

At St Nicholas’ Primary School we pride ourselves on being a P4C leading school, having already successfully achieved the



Creativity Week

This week we were thinking about creativity. What does it mean to you? How can we show creativity? Is everyone creative?

Each class carried out a P4C enquiry.

Early Years and Key Stage One looked at ‘The Dot’ by Peter H. Reynolds.  This book explores how a little girl, Vashti doesn’t think she is good at art.  Vashti simply marks her paper with a dot. She doesn’t think of this ‘painting’ as art until her teacher asks her to sign it, and then proceeds to hang it up. The question arises: Is Vashti’s dot painting art?

The classes all came up with their own questions:


The older children watched a video about creativity made by Kingston University.

Each class thought about these questions:

Is creativity an art or a science?

Is creativity a way of thinking or a way of being?

Is creativity a quality or a habit?

Year 6 created this question to discuss:

Kindness Week October 2019

During Kindness week, we are introducing a whole school stimulus for P4C.  This means that children from EYFS all the way to Year 6 are shown the same video to discuss.  This is a fantastic opportunity to look at how our children’s philosophical thinking progresses throughout the school.

The children have then been given four opinions about the video:

Corner 1. The bird should not have stolen the worms from the dog’s boat
Corner 2. The bird was allowed to steal because she was feeding her starving children
Corner 3. The fisherman should have shared the worms with the bird.
Corner 4. It is ok that the bird stole from the dog because she brought him some fish

The children were asked to stand next to the opinion that they agreed with the most.

Have a look at the video with your child/ren….what opinion do you agree with the most, and why?