Volume 18, Issue 2, Fall 2004
Ann Margaret Sharp
And the Children Shall Lead Them
Philosophy for Children engages students in philosophical deliberation characterized by dialogue, inquiry, reasoning and self-reflection. Philosophy for Children assumes a pluralistic conception of philosophy which, when practiced in a community of inquiry with children, is a necessary tool for the liberation from oppression. It is on this basis that an analogous relationship with feminist philosophy is established. Students of Philosophy for Children commit themselves, either consciously or unconsciously, to such principles as egalitarianism, respect for persons, fallibilism, pluralism, open-mindedness, tolerance, and the procedures of democracy. Some procedures for philosophizing with children are enumerated. The author concludes that Philosophy for Children is not just a discipline to be added to the curriculum, but represents an alternative model of education in which thinking, questioning, self-correction, judgment making, collaboration, dialogue, and inquiry are central.