Faculty of Arts

PHIL 301

Philosophy for Children

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for PHIL 301.


This course provides a thorough practical grounding in facilitation of philosophical communities of inquiry, and in the construction of materials to stimulate philosophical inquiry. Opportunities for classroom practice in co-operating primary schools will be provided to participants who are not classroom-based.

Philosophy for Children is an internationally practiced educational programme that brings together critical thinking, dialogue about meaningful questions and the fostering of community. International research has demonstrated the power of this programme in all of these areas for school students from 5 – 18 years old. The central pedagogical tool is the “Community of Inquiry” in which students pose their own questions in response to a philosophically rich stimulus, and then work collaboratively to explore the question and to propose, elaborate and evaluate a range of answers to it. Reflection on process and content is an integral part of the endeavour. The task of the facilitator is to assist and extend the thinking in the community, without leading the group to any predetermined conclusion, and to encourage collaboration and a caring and respectful attitude to fellow inquirers. A wide range of high order thinking skills are developed through this programme. School students find the process exciting, engaging and empowering, and also great fun.

In this course you will learn the skills of facilitating philosophical inquiry with children, and engage in numerous communities of inquiry yourself. You will become familiar with a range of stimulus and support materials, and learn how to construct these for a stimulus of your choice (such as a picture book, news story, film clip and so on). The course involves six hours of classroom contact with primary school children. You will be supported in your preparation for this contact time, and will also be supported by the classroom teacher during class time.

The learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Become familiar with participation in and reflection upon philosophical communities of inquiry
  • Understand and practice the role of the facilitator in philosophical communities of inquiry
  • Use and reflect upon a range of stimulus and support materials for philosophical inquiry
  • Develop strategies for enhancing the quality of students’ philosophical questioning, their critical skills and their reflective practice
  • Create activities and discussion guides to support philosophical inquiry into concepts, questions and issues across the curriculum
  • Consider and build upon commonly used processes for evaluating communities of inquiry and assessment of student progress

Provisional class limits for 2018

Enrolment is limited to 10 students.  Students must meet all statutory and regulatory criteria for working with children. Selection criteria: Students will be selected on the basis of: 1. Experience in working with children or suitability for working with children, as demonstrated in a written application and an interview 2. Breadth of philosophical background 3. Commitment to philosophical practice in the community, as demonstrated in a written application and an interview. 3. GPA of at least B+.

Availability 2018

Semester 2


Lecturer(s) Dr Vanya Kovach


Creation of two sets of classroom resources, each supported by an essay explaining the planned strategies for implementation, and the connection to the relevant philosophical issues. 2x2000 words. 70%

Assessment via video of a philosophical community of inquiry facilitated in primary classrooms. 30%


PHIL 301: 15.0 points


60 points in Philosophy


PHIL 701

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