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 www.sapere.org.uk 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.
As we are a values-led school, teachers will ensure those values 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?
An 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 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
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.