Bringing philosophy to the wider-community through an outlet where children (and adults) can learn about, and practice good thinking.
About the project
The Philosophy Foundation is building a home - hurray! After 7 years of successfully running philosophy sessions in primary and secondary schools all over the country we're putting down roots in the community so we can be available to all of you!
In schools our philosophy sessions develop reasoning skills, speaking and listening, confidence, collaborative thinking and respect. They are also one of the few places you can legitimately explore alien invasion, time travel, unplugging from the matrix and the virtues of being a pig!
We propose to set up a community space to allow our school work to continue outside of schools hours - after school, weekends and holidays. This allows children and parents to have more autonomy in choosing philosophy rather than it being entirely school directed.
AND we would like to open up our groups to adults, have guest talks, workshops and training for young people.
During the DAY our space would have:
- After School club: Many children say they would like more philosophy, however since we are hired by schools we are limited to what they request. Having our own space would allow us to run after-school clubs for keen and ex-students.
- School visits: This would enable us to invite schools we have worked with before as well as new schools to come and have a philosophy session. Travelling around to different schools limits us in the experience we are able to create - having a fixed location would allow us to be more imaginative with our stories, props and the number of philosophers we could use!
- Nursery club: Many children who are just starting nursery, only go in to school for the morning or afternoon. We will offer an opportunity for parents to bring their children into the shop for storytelling, philosophy sessions and developing questioning skills with parents.
- Youth training space: We would be able to use the shop space to train young people in running enquires which would mean we could offer them work experience in teaching and paid work. We could also give them training in various areas of working the third sector, including fundraising, event planning and project management.
- Office Space - Book Shop - Coffee Shop: The core team will use the shop as the main office space, however we will also display our books, have a coffee machine and seating space for anyone to come in and find out more/work/read.
- Exhibition space: We will be able to display all the work children have done over the last few years and photographs of events.
In the EVENING the Philosophy Shop would run:
- Adult/Parent Groups: We often get asked by parents if we run adult classes, this has lead some of our specialists to find corners of cafes and restaurants to run these groups. Having a space would allow us to bring these clubs together and invite more parents and adults along.
- Talks and Workshops: TPF has a number of brilliant supporters such as Philosophers A.C. Grayling and Angie Hobbs. We would invite them and our other high profile supporters to come along and give a talk or workshop one evening to the public.
- Philosophical Film nights: Many of the best films have philosophical themes, we’ll pick some of the best and then there will be a philosopher on site to lead thoughts, questions, ideas and discussions about it afterwards.
- Other requests and suggestions are welcomed! . . . . . . . .
"... the key difference between science and philosophy is that we need the results of science more than we need everyone in the body politic “doing science.” By contrast, we need everyone “doing philosophy” more than we need the results of philosophy"
The Importance of teaching children how to think instead of what to think
Open Letter to the Guardian from academics, comedians and other celebs to get philosophy in schools:
The Princeton philosophy department argues that because philosophers have a "better understanding of the nature of man and his place in the world," they're better able to identify address issues in modern society
If you believe in philosophy as much as we do you can help us get our Philosophy Shop up and running by making a donation, irrespective of whether it be big or small we thank you for the bottom of our hearts (and enquiring minds)!
Why Philosophy? How's that going to help?
Our sessions have been shown through research to help reading skills which has a big impact on academic achievment. They have particularly been shown to help children who struggle the most.
In feedback from our transition project teachers have told us that levels of aggression are down, children now enjoy working in groups whereas before they hated it and that confidence is at an all time high. Children report using strategies learnt in philosophy to settle disputes on their estates, talk more effectively to their parents and teach their younger siblings.
We hope that by developing good thinking habits early on we are helping kids deal with all sorts of different obstacles as they go through life.
What will happen when the funding runs out?
We are aiming to support the first 3 months with funding while we get ourselves up and running. After this our aim it to be self-sustaining with our bookshop, coffees, lectures, courses, memberships and the like!
Why are the children in the main picture on a bus?
Every year on World Philosophy Day we have a large event involving the young people that we work with. Last year TFL lent us a routemaster which we used to take children from different schools around the UK to major landmarks and run sessions around these such as 'what is beauty?' at The Tate. The year before that we took children to the Houses of Parliament to explore the nature of truth with politicians!