PHIL 301

Philosophy for Children


PHIL 301 provides a unique opportunity to learn to use your philosophical skills and knowledge in a community context. It will be of interest to those who want philosophy to have practical application, those who are keen to gain skills in facilitating thinking of others and those who may be interested in teaching as a career.

In this course you will learn the skills of facilitating philosophical inquiry with children, and engage in numerous communities of inquiry yourself, with other members of the class. 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 three hours of classroom practice with primary school children, and also provides opportunities to observe children engaging in philosophical inquiry. You will be supported in your preparation for your classroom contact time, and will also be supported by the classroom teacher during class time.

This is an experiential course and attendance at class is essential. There will be no recordings made, and it will not be possible to succeed in the course through reading only. The processes you will experience and learn from are engaging and enjoyable, and require the participation of all class members.


"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.

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
  • Become familiar with 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
  • Become familiar with commonly used processes for evaluating communities of inquiry

Class limits for 2020 and application process

Enrolment is limited to 10 students.  Students must meet all statutory and regulatory criteria for working with children (Note that the host school does not require that you complete a police clearance.)

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. 4. GPA of at least B in Philosophy courses.

You must apply to be admitted to this course, through a written application and interview. There will be a deadline for applications, (late in Semester One, exact date to be announced) after which you will be notified that you can enrol, or that your enrolment has been approved (if you have already enrolled using the usual procedure). No student will be admitted to the course without undergoing the application process.


Coursework only

For full course information see the Digital Course Outline for PHIL 301.

Digital Course Outlines are refreshed in November for the following year. Digital Course Outlines for courses to be offered for the first time may be published slightly later.

Availability 2023

Not taught in 2023




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 points


60 points in Philosophy


PHIL 701