PHIL 701

Philosophy for Children – Theory and Practice


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 or film clip). You will be supported in your preparation for practice in your classroom.

The links between "Philosophy for Children" and the educational philosophy of Dewey and Vygotsky will be explored and the international empirical research reviewed. Links with the New Zealand Curriculum, especially the principles, values and key competencies, will be investigated.


•  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. (Two x 1500 - 2000 words)
•   Assessment via video of a philosophical community of inquiry facilitated in primary classrooms. 
•   Essay on the theoretical background of "Philosophy for Children", the research on "Philosophy for Children" or on links with the NZ Curriculum OR on a selected philosophical issue, and its connection to a subject or subjects in the NZ school curriculum. (3000 - 4000 words)

About "Philosophy for Children"

"Philosophy for Children" is an internationally practised 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.


Three scholarships valued at $3,000 each are available each year for secondary school teachers enrolled in this course. 

Find out more about the Woods Philosophy Teachers Scholarships


Coursework only

For full course information see the Digital Course Outline .

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 2024

Not taught in 2024




PHIL 701: 30 points