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Victoria Park Primary School

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Philosophy for Children

Quote from Gold report: "Everyone I spoke to [at VPPS] is passionate about P4C: especially the children who clearly demonstrate the skills and dispositions that are at the heart of P4C practice. The P4C leaders and teachers are confident practitioners who are genuinely interested in the ideas of the young people."

At VPPS, we teach Philosophy for Children (P4C) as part of our curriculum. P4C is an approach to learning which aims to support and develop children’s listening and communication skills. In addition it leads to engagement with ‘real world’ issues and ideas, helping our children become active participants in society. It is designed to stimulate their thinking skills and encourages them to share their opinions and ideas in a safe and supportive environment. Developed by Matthew Lipman in the 1960s in the USA, it is now practised in many settings around the world.

A typical session follows an enquiry model, where an initial stimulus (for example, a story, video clip, poem or object) is shared with the children who then formulate questions about it. The questions aim to be philosophical, engaging and related to issues and concepts that are central to the children’s experience. They should also be contestable, to stimulate discussion and the sharing of ideas and opinions. The children pursue the line of enquiry in a structured discussion which is facilitated by their teacher. By sharing ideas and interrogating each other’s opinions, the children gain a greater understanding of our world.

Thinking skills are taught using the 4Cs model to represent four different types of thinking:

Creative, Caring, Collaborative and Critical.


Children pass their discussion around a circle, and are encouraged to develop a supportive and curious community of enquiry to work towards a philosophical truth.

We are delighted that, in July 2019, we were presented with the gold award for our P4C practice by SAPERE, the educational charity responsible for the promotion and development of P4C in the UK. This award celebrates the effort and achievements of our children and staff in P4C, and is a symbol of our commitment to providing the best for our community. We intend to continue to develop our P4C and embed the practice of philosophical enquiry into the curriculum here at VPPS.

For further information about P4C visit: