P4C – Philosophy For Children

P4C – Philosophy For Children

What is P4C?

P4C stands for Philosophy For Children, and in our P4C sessions children are taught how to create their own philosophical questions. They will then vote one question to be the focus of a philosophical enquiry, for example: ‘Is it ever okay to steal?’ The children are then encouraged to debate, justify, reason and review within the enquiry.

The teacher supports these sessions as a facilitator, and supports the children in their thinking, reasoning and questioning, as well as the way that they speak and listen to each other in the dialogue. Beyond this, the dialogue is completely student led and provides an opportunity for them to develop their articulacy skills, as well as their understanding of the world as they see it. Every child, from Nursery to Year 6, has the opportunity to take part in P4C sessions.

The 4 C’s

Through P4C lessons children will develop the 4C’s: creative, critical, caring and collaborative skills.

Caring thinking – listening (concentrating) and valuing (appreciating)

Colloborative thinking – responding (communicating) and supporting (building on each other’s ideas)

Critical thinking – questioning (interrogating) and reasoning (evaluating)

Creative Thinking – connecting (relating) and suggesting (speculating)


P4C also specifically promotes the school attributes of

Curious -  Children are encouraged to ask questions about the world we live in.

Independent – Children forward their own ideas, and argue their own reasoning, coming to conclusions on their own individually or as a group, in contrast to simply being told.

Articulate – Children share their opinions with each other, build upon each other’s ideas.

Reflective -  After sessions children and teachers reflect on the quality of the thinking, reasoning and participation and suggest how they could improve.

Thinking Fridays

Every Friday the whole school from Nursery to Year 6 (and the teachers too!), all consider the same question, such as ‘If you could be any animal what would you be and why?’ We share our thoughts with each other and some of us post our thoughts on our school Thinking Fridays display for everyone to see.


You can join in with Thinking Fridays by asking your children what this week’s question was, and by sharing your thoughts with them too.  From time to time, your child may bring home a class P4C book which will have that week’s question and some of the children’s thoughts inside. This will be an opportunity for you to extend the learning at home, and also take part in the philosophical enquiry by adding your own personal thoughts, and those of your family, to the book.

RE and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development (SMSC)

At Sandringham, P4C is linked in with the teaching of religious education. We follow the Newham locally agreed syllabus for religious education, which includes an enquiry based approach to teaching RE. At the start of each term classes begin their new topics by exploring and questioning religious themes such as belonging, worship, prayer, identity, friendship etc.

P4C also supports our children’s development by allowing them the opportunity to investigate and offer reasoned views about moral and ethical issues; by providing them with a space to develop their tolerance and respect for others’ feelings and values; and by promoting a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them.

P4C and British Values

P4C specifically promotes the British values of democracy and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith. The children learn practically about democracy through P4C as almost every session involves the class voting on which question they would most like to discuss. The weekly sessions enable children to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence whilst encouraging respect for other people.

P4C banner and pics


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