P4C - Philosophy for Children

Year 5 and 6 P4C display

At St. Mary's, all our staff are trained in P4C (Philosophy for Children). 


What are the P4C principles?

Developing a Community of Enquiry requires more than just concentrating on better questioning. It is equally important to develop reasoning and reflection, both public and private, and these bring into play, among other things, emotions and the thoughtful expression of emotions. In short, the process is multifaceted and profoundly personal. It presents not only an intellectual challenge to those involved, but also a social and emotional one. It
encourages open-mindedness and creates conditions for change, both for individuals and for communities.
The principles include:
• Proper valuing of each person’s interests and questions
• Acknowledgement that each person’s experience or story is unique
• Proper valuing of knowledge, along with the recognition that no-one is all-knowing or all-wise
• Appreciation of different ways of interpreting and thinking


The 4C thinking model

The four aspects of P4C that certainly enhance its philosophical nature, but in effect are aspects of thinking that one might look for in any Community of Enquiry are:
Caring thinking
Collaborative thinking
Critical thinking
Creative thinking


For younger children, philosophical enquiry can be explained as a way of thinking together and sharing thoughts and questions about ‘Big Ideas’. For older children, the explanation would be more detailed. The process of philosophical enquiry involves all students in considering and then questioning the concepts or ‘Big Ideas’ they identify from reading, looking at or listening to the stimulus or starting materials. These questions are then shared, thought about carefully and explained more before the students select one that they find most interesting to discuss further.