St. Michael’s Catholic Primary School

In God’s love we believe and achieve

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P4C - Going for Gold!

Philosophy for Children (P4C) is an approach to learning and teaching, where children are taught how to create their own philosophical questions. They then choose one question that is the focus of a philosophical enquiry, or dialogue. For example the question might be 'is it ever ok to steal?


The teacher, as facilitator, supports the children in their thinking, reasoning and questioning, as well as the way the children speak and listen to each other in the dialogue. After the enquiry the children and facilitator reflect on the quality of the thinking, reasoning and participation, and suggest how they could improve; either as individuals or as a group (community).


It is well documented that P4C has an impact on children's cognitive, social and emotional development. P4C is about getting children to think and communicate well; to think better for themselves. (SAPERE 2017)


P4C lessons have been taking place in St Michael’s School, and all teachers and teaching assistants have been trained to deliver P4C sessions in class. There is designated time given to P4C sessions and teachers use a variety of stimulus: videos, songs, books, images, to begin their enquiry. Children enjoy having the opportunity to think, listen, question, challenge, agree, oppose, discuss and collaborate on a number of issues that they feel are important to them.


As part of a national study, St Michael’s School has been selected to take part in research into the impact of P4C on maths and reading. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NfER) and the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) are funding and evaluating this study and results will be published in 2020.


As part of our participation in this study, St Michael’s School will be aiming to achieve the P4C Gold Award quality mark. The first stage is to achieve the Bronze Award, then the Silver Award, and in year three, the Gold Award.


P4C has an important role to play in the education of our children. It allows them to develop critical thinking skills, creativity, collaboration and better communication. These skills are not only important for the academic development of our children, but also the social and emotional aspects of learning. The skills that our children develop through P4C, are ones which will equip them with essential skills for life.