| Head's Blog

In Years 5 and 6 at Sherborne House I introduce the children to Philosophy.

Discussing philosophy with children is a really good way to improve their verbal skills. They learn to listen carefully, to formulate their own opinions in a clear manner, and even to defend their opinions against objections from their peers. Exploring philosophy builds a real sense of community in the classroom and, at the same time, it aids in the individual intellectual development of the pupils.

Philosophy is an activity that entails questioning the nature of reality and existence, trying to find meaning in the human experience.

In most countries, philosophy is a subject that is taught only at secondary or at university level. However, there’s growing interest in the idea of starting some form of philosophical education in primary school. The term “philosophy” falls short of a clear-cut definition, the expression “teaching philosophy,” too, leaves ample room for a variety of interpretations. In a primary school environment, the discipline is less about arcane speculations on the nature of knowledge, and more about stimulating critical thinking, creativity and collaboration from a young age.

Philosophy, which teaches how us to approach problems, see arguments from multiple sides, and how to think about complex situations. I believe that children who study philosophy grow into being more creative adults; they’re more capable of handling problems in the workplace, in their relationships, and in life in general. Studying philosophy teaches them how to think, how to separate valid from invalid arguments, and how to effectively communicate with other people. Questions that we have discussed in our lessons have ranged from ‘ Can you step in to the same river twice?’, ‘What is art?’, ‘If children led society what would change?’ to (and my favourite question) ‘Is the Universe infinite?’.

For any potential armchair philosophers I can recommend ‘The Little Book of Thunks’ by Ian Gilbert. A book of questions that will promote discussion and make your brains hurt – a potential Christmas read!

Do have a wonderful festive holiday with family.

We look forward to seeing everyone back in January 2021, which will bring a New Year and a fresh start in so many different ways – something to look forward to.

Image Credit: Veer Khanna