Philosophy for Children

What is P4C?

"An unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates

P4C aims to encourage children (or adults) to think critically, caringly, creatively and collaboratively. Based on the principles of a Socratic Dialogue the participants build a ‘community of enquiry’ whereby they create and attempt to answer their own questions. Through this process children are enabled to philosophise and this requires them to reason and explain their thinking, to listen and to build on the ideas of others.
P4C is a very powerful approach to teaching and learning. It can directly contribute towards:

  • Thinking skills
  • Speaking and listening
  • The Primary and KS3 Strategies
  • Emotional literacy
  • Values Education
  • All subjects, particularly Citizenship, PSHE, RE, and English

CDEC and P4C

CDEC - Developing Global Learning views P4C as a key tool in exploring the global dimension with children, young people and teachers across Cheshire, Halton, Warrington and Wirral

We can provide introductory INSETs on P4C to introduce teachers to the approach of the community of enquiry. Although we always recommend that a teacher subsequently attends a Level 1 course.

We use our experience and knowledge of P4C in our project work as detailed in the Case Studies below.


Introduction to P4C

Basic introduction to Philosophy for Children which includes information about the history of P4C, the process, benefits of P4C for both individuals and whole school and ideas on resources/stimuli. We also provide a taster of an enquiry in which participants can experience the’ community of enquiry’.

Level 1 P4C

A practical 12-hour introduction (usually over two full days), leading to a certificate of attendance. The course focuses on the theory and practice of developing communities of enquiry

Who should attend? - P4C will be useful to all education professionals. Due to its skills-based approach to teaching and learning, the Level 1 course is relevant to primary or secondary teachers, specialists (in G & T or Literacy for example), school governors, LEA advisors, head teachers and senior management teams. It has even been used as an effective method of running whole staff meetings.

Available Courses

All courses will be held at the Double Tree by Hilton, Chester
Cost: £295 CDEC members £355 non members

Level 2 P4C

For those who have completed a Level One course. It leads to a nationally recognised Certificate in the Theory and Practice of Philosophical Enquiry in Education. This course involves 24 hours of further theory and guided practice, followed by a minimum of 15 hours classroom practice and written assignment.

Available courses
Level 2 courses are run through SAPERE for more details visit

CDEC has long been an advocate and user of Philosophy for Children, so delighted that there has been so much publicity around the publication of the Education Endowment Foundation research project.  This research concludes that Philosophy for Children has a positive impact on outcomes for KS2 attainment and especially suggests that P4C has the biggest positive impact on Key Stage 2 results among disadvantaged pupils.

A link to both the full and summary reports is shown below.


SAPERE was set up in 1992 following interest aroused by the BBC television documentary Socrates for six year olds. This hour-long film focused on the work of Professor Matthew Lipman and his associates (including Catherine McCall) in New Jersey who, over the past 25 years, have developed a curriculum for 5 to 16 year olds known as Philosophy for Children. SAPERE seeks to build on Lipman’s work and promote his and other approaches to developing better reasoning, more reflective consideration of values and the development of communities of enquiry at all levels of education and in a wide variety of contexts.

SAPERE also organises and validates training courses in the theory and practice of philosophical enquiry in education.

For more information please visit their website


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