Philosophy for 7 year olds?

Philosophy for 7 year olds?

I intended to post this a week or two ago. If I’d done that, I would remember who sent me this link. As it stands right now, I can’t remember. Though, most of my interesting links come from Alan Jacobs at ayjay.jottit.com or Jennifer Grant at www.jennifercgrant.com, so I’ll just give them both a shout-out in case they pointed me this direction.

I am fascinated by education. I like looking back over my own education to figure out how I got where I am. I like being part of my children’s education. Among a number of decent options, we choose to educate our children in the public school system. I especially love when I see parents and teachers being creative with how they are educating children. This link is about just such a situation.

Here’s a tidbit, to whet your appetite:

“Professor Wartenberg and students use eight picture books to introduce children to the major fields of philosophy, including aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, social and political philosophy and philosophy of the mind.”

The professor is working with 2nd graders. I am inspired by the possibilities. Yes, I want my children to learn their times tables. I want them to know the state capitols and the year the Statue of Liberty was installed. But more than anything, I want my children to become thinkers. I want them to know how to discover knowledge for themselves. I want them to be able to consider the risks and benefits of freedom and to argue the merits of monarchy v. democracy. I want my children to be able to discuss art and to appreciate aesthetics. I want them to be able to discuss the complexities of why the Civil War happened.

How better to do all of this than to talk with our children? And what better framework than philosophy? And what better medium than literature?

I passed the article on to my son’s 2nd grade teacher and our principal. I don’t know that they’ll implement this program exactly, but who knows? It might inspire them too.

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