Philosophy for Children (P4wC) was created by Matthew Lipman and Ann Margaret Sharp as a pedagogy to foster thinking in young people. They established the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC) at Montclair State University in the 1970s. Since then, P4wC centres have developed all over the world. In order to create synergy amongst P4wC practitioners, ICPIC was established in 1985 to oversee biennial conferences and expand the reach of P4wC internationally.

About Us

ICPIC envisions a future where children's ideas about the world are taken seriously thanks to educational initiatives that nurture their thinking and community-building skills.

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objectives

ICPIC is dedicated to supporting people and projects around the globe with the shared aim of engaging young people in philosophical inquiry both in formal and informal learning contexts.

ICPIC’s constitution states our objectives as follows:

To promote, coordinate and disseminate research and to organize international congresses as well as specialized symposia.

To promote relationships between philosophers, educators and others concerned with the fostering of children’s cognitive development through philosophy.

To establish relationships among such philosophers and educators committed to introducing philosophy into elementary and secondary schools throughout the world.

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To encourage rapprochement among scholars with regard to problems of pedagogical method.

To coordinate efforts of those seeking to introduce philosophy into all elementary and secondary school curricula.

To promote the setting up of regional centers of philosophy to assist in the designing and dissemination of courses in philosophical inquiry with children.

To encourage philosophers to devote themselves to continued improvement of the quality of education for all children.

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MEET THE TEAM

executive

COMMITTEE

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2017-

2019

The ICPIC executive, elected by the members and serving a minimum of two years, meet monthly to support the many objectives of ICPIC members.

PRESIDENT

Arie

Kizel

Israel

VICE-PRESIDENT

Susan Gardner

Canada

RESEARCH

Maughn Gregory

U.S.A.

TREASURER

Arthur

Wolf

Germany

SECRETARY

Rose-Anne

Lawrence

South Africa

SECRETARY

Jen

Glaser

Israel

WEBSITE DESIGNER

Natalie

Fletcher

Canada

ONLINE MANAGER

Rafael

Robles

Spain

Now half a century old, P4wC has become a significant educational and philosophical movement that is practiced, interpreted, researched and recreated in more than 60 countries around the world. From kindergartens to universities, children’s shelters to governmental ministries, P4wC has become increasingly popular as an approach to child-driven education in both formal and informal contexts, as well as a dialogic pedagogy used with adults. Beyond ICPIC, P4wC is grounded many national and regional centers that train, support and bring practitioners, philosophers and teacher educators together to share and theorize practice.

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history & growth

Philosophy for Children offers a distinctive perspective in a number of key areas of inquiry and provides a counter-narrative to psychological and sociological perspectives that often dominate educational discourse. Its radical move, in bringing child and philosophy together, has made a unique contribution to the blurring of disciplinary boundaries and opened up new avenues for scholarly inquiry as well as educational practice.

The advent of P4wC in the United States in the late 1960s was part of a broader intensity of interest in philosophy for young people. Founder Matthew Lipman began work on his first philosophical novel for children in 1968 and the initial classroom experiment that followed convinced him “that philosophy can and should be part of the entire length of a child’s education...because it is abundantly clear that children hunger for meaning, and get turned off by education when it ceases to be meaningful to them.”

In 1973, Lipman met his lifelong collaborator Ann Margaret Sharp with whom he co-founded the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC) at Montclair a year later. Lipman and Sharp saw doing philosophy as an ideal of the educational experience, even capable of transforming education more broadly.

Toward that end, they produced a curriculum designed to accomplish a complex set of objectives: connecting children with the philosophical dimensions of their experience, exposing students and teachers to diverse positions from the philosophical tradition, modeling children engaged in philosophical dialogue with each other and with adults, and illustrating philosophical inquiry making a difference in children’s lives.

At Montclair, Lipman and Sharp’s professional development programs evolved into undergraduate and graduate courses, and masters and doctoral degree programs, and today numerous universities around the world offer similar P4wC courses and programs. Lipman and Sharp’s work almost immediately attracted the attention of philosophers and educators around the world, thousands of whom have gone to the IAPC to study, train and research. Many of them  established their own local organizations to develop curricula, research, professional development and university courses.

The P4wC movement has grown into a diverse field both at the levels of theory and practice. Though varied in their materials, methods and aims, P4wC approaches are united in their efforts to engage young people in philosophical dialogue inspired by questions and concepts that matter to them.

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METHOD AND ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES

P4wC theorists and practitioners take the controversial position that teachers with no formal philosophy education can be trained to use a dialogic method designed to engage their students in meaningful, rigorous philosophical inquiry. This method, originally developed by Lipman and Sharp, is called the "Community of Philosophical Inquiry" (CPI) and involves five stages:

  1. The offering of the text: Students read or enact a philosophical story together.
  2. The construction of the agenda: Students raise questions prompted by the text and organize them into a discussion agenda.
  3. Solidifying the community: Students discuss their questions in a dialogue facilitated by an adult.
  4. Using exercises and discussion plans: The facilitator introduces relevant activities to deepen and expand the students’ inquiry.
  5. Encouraging further responses: Student extend their inquiry through other activities, such as self-assessments of their philosophy practice, art projects and action projects.

Since the early 1970s, the CPI has inspired numerous and divergent approaches, including:

  • Per Jespersen’s approach that draws on the tradition of storytelling (Denmark)
  • Catherine McCall’s approach that emphasizes rigorous logical argumentation (Scotland)
  • Ekhart Martens’ "five finger model" of incorporating phenomenology, hermeneutics, analysis, dialectics and speculation as phases of philosophical inquiry (Germany)
  • Karel van der Leeuw and Pieter Mostert's approach  combining insights from Lipman, Nelson and Chinese philosophy (the Netherlands)
  • Michel Tozzi’s "democratic-philosophical method" in which students are assigned specific functions in the context of parliamentary discussion (France)
  • Oscar Brenifier’s method of Socratic maieutics that focuses on self-confrontation and discipline of thought (France)

In addition, Gareth Matthews inaugurated the study of philosophy in children’s literature, which opened the way for children’s picturebooks to become an important curricular resource, notably in the work of Karin Murris, Joanna Haynes and Thomas Wartenberg.

Text from the above two sections was adapted with permission from The Routledge International Handbook of Philosophy for Children (2016) edited by Maughn Rollins Gregory, Joanna Haynes and Karin Murris.

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