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My oldest child is nearly six years old and will be starting his first level of formal schooling in a few weeks. I don't believe he will be taught philosophy and logic in the classroom, so I would like to suppliment his education.

Are there any resources for teaching young children philosophy and logic?

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Just in passing, there is now a parenting.se which you may find helpful at some point :) –  Joseph Weissman Aug 3 '12 at 21:43
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Also in passing: offering and expecting good reasons for things can be more useful than formal instruction. –  Rex Kerr Aug 4 '12 at 4:56
    
Alice in wonderland is a great story and a childrens classic, its only later that one realises how it plays with philosophy. –  Mozibur Ullah Jan 26 '13 at 17:48

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There is a movement known as P4C (Philosophy for Children) which collects and develops resources of this type. You can read more about them here. There's also a Wikipedia page on the subject.

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Thanks Michael, do you have any experience with this program? –  Josh Peterson Aug 3 '12 at 18:35
    
@JoshPeterson: I'm afraid not. What I have read sounds promising, though. –  Michael Dorfman Aug 3 '12 at 18:51

As a practitioner of philosophical enquiry with children, I agree with Rex Kerr’s suggestion that offering and expecting good reasons can be highly instructive for children.

I’m glad to recommend some books which could help you lead your own philosophical discussions with your child. An excellent introduction is "The Philosophy Shop" (ed. Peter Worley, director of The Philosophy Foundation in the UK). It's a stimulating, accessible and well-structured repository of philosophical stories, questions and ideas. It includes many stories that are suitable for young children, though some others are more suitable for older children or adults. Peter Worley's book "The If Machine" (preview on Google books here) is also excellent.

Another helpful book is "The Philosophical Child", written for parents by Jana Mohr Lone (director of the Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children in the USA, and blogger at Wondering Aloud).

Whilst you can certainly stimulate your child's interest in philosophy and logic through one-to-one dialogue, there is nothing quite like the experience of collaborative enquiry among a group of children, where the kids are exposed to a diversity of views. Being part of a philosophical community of enquiring minds helps children to expand their thinking, and provokes them to question their own and each other's beliefs.

In certain parts of the world, there are extra-curricular opportunities for children to join a ‘philosophical community of inquiry’ or otherwise engage in collaborative philosophical thinking with their peers. I offer children such experiences in Australia through The Philosophy Club. I’m familiar with other Philosophy for Children organisations around the world, and would be happy to share my knowledge with anyone interested.

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Take a look at:

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder:

One day when Sophie comes home from school, she finds two questions in her mail: Who are you? and Where does the world come from? Before she knows it, she is pondering all the great questions of Western Philosophy (from the Greeks to Kant, to Marx and Freud) with a mysterious mentor. But Sophie is also receiving a second batch of equally unusual letters. Who is Hilde?

Paperback, 403 pages; Published 1995 by Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) (first published 1991)

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I've voted this up because Sophie's World is a very good book for slightly older kids as an introduction to the history of philosophy, and it's definitely something to keep in mind. It's probably not suited to the new school starters, though. –  Paul Ross Aug 10 '12 at 15:25

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