To help your child develop his/her independence it is important that he/she receives not only an academic education but also a cultural education. Examples of cultural education include art and volunteer activities, but “child philosophy” is gaining popularity in the global early childhood education field. How should parents and teachers proceed with such a difficult teaching method. In this article, we will cover the special characteristics, benefits and areas to be cautious about regarding “child philosophy”.
●What is “Child Philosophy”?
“Child Philosophy” is defined as the practice of thinking about and discussing your child’s questions together. This educational method is often practiced at schools in America and France and some Japanese daycares have started to implement the method as well. Sometimes parents and teachers sit down and think with the children and sometimes children are asked to discuss their thoughts amongst themselves.
●Is philosophy too hard for children to understand?
You may think that philosophy is too difficult a topic to be covered in early child education. However, “Child Philosophy” helps children improve their cognitive and communication skills. The themes covered in “Child Philosophy” are often questions they have from their daily lives. In France, 4-year-old children are often asked to think about love and death and discuss the topics in class.
●“Cognitive Skills”: Ability to think about daily life and people’s feelings
“Child Philosophy” helps children learn how to express their thoughts in words. Thinking about a topic requires children to consider how their actions will affect the outcome. Learning about friendship and how to take into consideration others’ feelings will also play an important role in your child’s moral education.
●“Discussion Skills”: Ability to incorporate the different opinions of others
“Child Philosophy” helps children learn not only how to think but also how to have discussions with adults and their peers. Being able to gather one’s thoughts and express them in a way others can understand while keeping in mind the opinions of others is an important skill in today’s educational environment.
●Deviating from the topic is evidence that your child is growing up
During a discussion, we often end up deviating from the main topic. However, in “Child Philosophy”, when the topic changes instead of calling it a deviation we call it an advancement. This advancement proves that your child can think deeply about a topic and incorporate others’ ideas. From the standpoint of improving one’s thinking skills, deviating from the topic is beneficial.
●Creating an environment where children feel free to express their opinions and ideas
When practicing “Child Philosophy” it is important to provide an open environment where children can express themselves. When holding a discussion in class, please be careful to avoid arguments amongst the students. If children feel that their opinions and thoughts are being attacked they will feel negative about participating in discussions from now on. It is important that, we as adults, do not contradict children even if their opinion is ethically wrong. Instead of saying it is bad to hold a wrong opinion or say something that they should not say it is best to focus on the importance of considering how others will feel and protecting others’ morals.
Within the material that we covered regarding “Child Philosophy”, there is no sharp line where philosophy begins. Therefore, if we, as adults, are aware of the main points and precautions, it is an easy educational style to implement. To improve your child’s thinking skills, it is a good idea to communicate with your child as much as possible daily.