Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children
The IAPC is the headquarters of an international network of affiliate centers whose three main functions are (1) to provide systematic curriculum materials in Philosophy for Children and to offer a number of forums of teacher preparation in the use of this curriculum, with emphasis on the pedagogy of the community of inquiry; (2) to conduct, sponsor and advise theoretical scholarship and empirical research in teaching pre-college philosophy and in educational philosophy; and (3) to contribute to initiatives of educational reform consistent with these educational commitments. The Institute itself publishes a 3,000 page, K-12 curriculum in Philosophy for Children, and also publishes the academic periodical Thinking: the Journal of Philosophy for Children. Several other theoretical books dealing with Philosophy for Children are published elsewhere, mainly by university presses such as Cambridge, Temple and Teachers College.
The primary constituency the IAPC aims to serve is schoolchildren – from pre-schoolers to teenagers and from schools close to the Institute to schools in the 60-odd nations with active Philosophy for Children centers. In addition to working directly with schoolchildren, members of the IAPC work with several constituencies, including public and private professional and pre-professional educators, educational administrators and policy-makers, and faculty and students of education, philosophy and related disciplines.
The Institute supports and advises certificate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in Philosophy for Children administered by the University’s Department of Educational Foundations, College of Education and Human Services, and Center of Pedagogy. Each summer the Institute conducts international residential workshops in Philosophy for Children for graduate students, schoolteachers and visiting scholars.
The novelty of Philosophy for Children lies in its presentation of the traditional discipline of philosophy in the form of children’s stories and classroom dialogue about philosophical concepts. The aim of educators utilizing this approach is to strengthen reasoning, concept-formation and judgment among their K-12 students, in addition to providing for their cultural enrichment through philosophy – one of the oldest and most celebrated of the humanities, and one which, before the advent of Philosophy of Children, had been offered primarily to undergraduate and graduate students.
In November 2001 the American Philosophy Association awarded its Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs to The Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children. The program has also been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an excellent and meritorious educational program, and by UNESCO.