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Teachers' and Educators' Page

Have you ever thought of using children's literature to teach philosophy to elementary school children?

It may surprise you to know that children's books often raise deep philosophical issues and that children love to think about them. This website contains all the materials that you need to lead philosophy discussions with your students.

We've chosen a set of books that we think are remarkable for their philosophical content, and we have assembled questions to use to initiate a philosophical discussion. All you need to do is to read one of the children's books suggested by our site aloud to a group of elementary school children and you are ready to go. The question sets will guide you in getting the children to discuss the philosophical issues raised by the book.

Leon Lionni's book, Let's Make Rabbits, for example, raises questions about how we know that something is real. What's the difference between a real rabbit and a picture-book one? Is having a shadow an adequate mark of something's reality? These are the sorts of questions that the book raises and that our guidelines and question sets help you discuss with your students. These are issues that puzzle and excite children, and their ideas will surprise and excite you!

Doing philosophy with children is a great way to improve their verbal skills. They learn to listen carefully to other students, to formulate their own opinions in a clear manner, and even to defend their opinions against objections from their peers. Doing philosophy builds a real sense of community in the classroom and, at the same time, it aids in the individual intellectual development of your students.

Take a look at our book modules for a wide range of children's books you might be interested in teaching.

On the course part of the site, you will also find our Elementary School Introduction to Philosophy curriculum.

Want some help setting up your own 8 week philosophy course using the book modules? Check out our new Sample Courses page. On it you will find suggested courses ready to use!

Let us know how it goes!

Creative Commons License This website was developed with the assistance of the Squire Family Foundation.