About P4C

What is Philosophy for Children (‘p4c’)?

Philosophy for Children is an approach to teaching and learning which puts the philosophical spirit of enquiry centre-stage.  In a typical p4c session, the children will be shown a stimulus, such as a story, video clip, artefact or picture.  They will then be given the opportunity to reflect on the stimulus, formulate a ‘juicy’ philosophical question, and then select a question for group discussion.  Through this process of reflection and dialogue, p4c can help children to develop their thinking and social skills.  Indeed there is considerable empirical evidence that p4c can increase self-esteem, concentration and even IQ scores. 

There is no formal syllabus with p4c, nor does it require the teacher to have any academic background in philosophy.  It can be embedded in a wide range of school subjects, such as English, History or Religious Studies, and it can be used with children as young as seven.

For two useful articles about p4c in Ireland, please see here:

Irish News article

Irish Times article

For further information about p4c, please see the Links page.

What is Philosophy for Citizenship?

Philosophy for Citizenship is an initiative pioneered by the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queen’s.  It reflects the conviction that the p4c house style provides an effective and stimulating way of teaching some of the key themes in the Northern Irish citizenship curriculum, particularly at KS2 and KS3.  Drawing on the research of Queen’s academics, it provides a suite of learning resources that relate to equality and justice, diversity and inclusion, human rights, and democracy and participation.  These resources, which are accompanied by teachers’ notes, can be used as the ‘stimulus’ for p4c enquiries both at primary and secondary level.