The Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC) publishes K-12 curriculum materials designed to engage students in exploring the philosophical dimensions of their experience, with particular attention to logical, ethical and aesthetic dimensions. Students read aloud or act out episodes from philosophical stories and deliberate about issues that interest them, as a “community of inquiry.” Teachers facilitate these dialogues in a number of ways. They encourage students to share their questions and ideas with the community. They model many kinds of good thinking “moves” such as clarifying terms, giving good reasons, offering counterexamples, drawing inferences, and challenging assumptions. They reinforce the social aspects of dialogue such as listening to each other and building on each other’s ideas. They maintain a sense of where the discussion is going and share their own sense of wonder about the issues.
Although Philosophy for Children is suitable for any child, it is not something that can be readily facilitated by any teacher. The IAPC provides a variety of services to prepare teachers to facilitate philosophical inquiry with their students:
- Philosophy in the Schools Program: Teachers in “First-Tier” schools practice P4C with classroom assistance, and attend “Philosophy for Teachers” sessions conducted by IAPC staff. “Second-Tier” schools collaborate with the IAPC in research, curriculum development and teacher preparation. (Available only to schools near the University; see details below.)
- On-Site Workshops for whole school participation or for a cohort of teachers in the school. These workshops can be customized to fit the needs of particular schools, e.g., for critical thinking or character education. See details below.
- A “Philosopher in Residence” to conduct a course for teachers and to supervise their P4C practice. See details below.
- IAPC Seminars held each August (introductory) and May (advanced) in Mendham, New Jersey.
- IAPC Visiting Scholar Program. Educators may attend the IAPC for periods of weeks, months, semesters, or an entire academic year to prepare to practice Philosophy for Children, to develop curriculum and/or to conduct research and scholarship in educational philosophy.