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Philosophy

Learning to Learn: Teaching Philosophy to Children

The love of knowledge is essential to the creation or nurturing of any student.  the idea that an individual who gains a sense of self-empowerment and self-definition through the pursuit of study is closely aligned to the image of scholarship that most people hold in ideal terms. The study of knowledge itself is, in fact, one of the most positive aspects of education that can be  offered to young people, including grade-school children. this is due to the fact that most, if not all, other subjects and disciplines from science to literature can be more readily understood by students who are well-versed in basic philosophical concepts such as logic and dialectic. As the following discussion will clearly show, the study of philosophy by young children is essential to meeting the educational challenges of the twentieth century.

In the modern world, the idea that philosophy is an important part of primary education is not only timely, but it addresses the urgent need faced by American  (and Western) society for a new vision of education and a more reliable method of instilling useful and permanent knowledge in pupils. As Tony Wagner indicates in  “Making the Grade: Reinventing America’s Schools” (2003), contemporary society demands fast and adaptable models not only of education but of knowledge itself. This means that teaching students about knowledge and self-inquiry is an essential first-step in devising an intellectual skill-set that is capable of meeting the complex and rapidly changing conditions of modern life. Wagner writes that “if we are to understand more deeply what students need to know and be able to do […] we must first consider how a changing world is shaping today’s young people and their future”1 This means that the task of education is not merely to make knowledge available but to teach students the nature of knowledge itself, as well as the practical uses of learning.

Wagner’s observation that rapidly changing conditions and the intrinsic evolution of knowledge should be important factors in determining methods and emphasis in education policy is compelling. The reason that the teaching of philosophy to small children is so crucial is because it is by learning the basic nature of knowledge itself that young people will be most able to accept a shifting set of paradigms in any field of endeavor, whether in relation to science and math or in relation to the fine arts and humanities. Wagner insists that readying  students for a lifetime of learning rather than merely teaching them disposable facts, is the best method of effectively bringing educational paradigms into the modern world.

Wagner’s argument is reinforced by his assertion that “in an era of information glut and rapid change, we must think very carefully about what we want all children to know, as well as how we can best test, or assess, their expertise.”22 This observation is based on the idea that education is, to some degree, a question of priorities. Simply teaching facts and knowledge is an approach that requires a great investment of time for dubious results. The same time and energy that is used to reinforce facts geared toward testing could be better used, at least in part, by reinforcing skills for self-learning and philosophical inquiry. Such an approach would allow for the conversion of the natural curiosity and instinctive learning that is typically found in young children. Such an approach would also invigorate already existing programs and curriculums by giving young children a new sense of self-reliance and intellectual interest.

In the book Children as Philosophers: Learning through Enquiry and Dialogue in the Primary Classroom (2002) Joanna Haynes remarks that children are naturally disposed toward the study of philosophy. Haynes forwards the argument that not only are small children prone toward asking fundamental questions about the nature and function of things, but that they have an almost innate form of intellectual honesty that makes their study that much more compatible with the general functions of philosophy.  She writes that “cchilldren often talk about their experience in a honest and striking way. They seek to make their personal knowledge pertinent to the matter in hand.” 3 This tendency makes the teaching of philosophy ideally suited to small children. It also provides a groundwork for the continuation of these early learning tendencies by reinforcing the notions of self-reliance and personal responsibility.

In other words, the study of philosophy by small children generally reinforces a connection between learning and ethics. It also provides a framework for the formation of a personal sense of intellectual integrity. Young children who are exposed to the study of philosophy learn, above all other things, that there are many perspectives to any given problem or situation. they also learn that certain factors are always worth taking into consideration despite variety of perspectives, such as reason, synthesis, and rigorous honesty in all intellectual pursuits. If a specific problem in math calls for complex calculations or a highly complex poem demands careful explication, the study of philosophy is useful in either case. This means, that to a very real extent, philosophy functions as a bridge between all of the other subjects that are typically encountered by students throughout the entirety of the careers.

In his study,  Connected Knowledge: Science, Philosophy, and Education (1997), Alan Cromer mentions that an education is not only the pursuit of  specific scholastic requirements and goals, but that it is a practical, functioning instrument that is meant to better the student’s life. Furthermore, according to Cromer, the study of all subjects is meant to reinforce the tendency for the student to perceive a universal connection of rationality and knowledge that is part of all aspects of living and working. Cromer writes that “the value of a formal education is that it provides a consistent, coherent, and universal framework of basic knowledge on which individuals can build their own understanding of the world.” 4 This is exactly the reason why the study of philosophy is a natural fit for young children and why it should be  considered a mandatory part of any primary educational system.

The foundation provided by the study of philosophy allows not only for the discovery and reinforcement of self-reflection and self-reliance, but for the sharing and discourse of ideas in groups. Philosophy teaches the principles of argument and logic and also integrates the process of question and answer. it is also permissible in philosophical inquiry to have an open-ended argument or an unanswered question. this allows for a great latitude of thinking and discussion which is useful and applicable to any field of study. Haynes indicates that philosophy is primarily a discipline that is based in the dialogue and sharing of ideas between multiple perspectives on specific issues and ideas. She writes that, in terms of integrating this kind of dialogue and dialectic in the classroom, it is a natural fit to the kind of robust and energetic discussions favored by young children.

Haynes remarks that teachers can structure their classes around this paradigm. She advocates the use if philosophical discourse as a continuous method of reinforcing lessons and participation: “The main activity of the community of philosophical enquiry is whole-class discussion […]  A topic may be carried over several sittings often enhanced by the interludes that provide time for digestion of ideas.”5 The process that is initiated by this kind of discourse is that the young student learns to first express their opinion about some issue or event, then listen to other viewpoints, integrate new knowledge and facts, reflect on the experience and evolve a fresh perspective. This basic process can be repeated in regard to any number of issues or subjects and therefore is, in itself, a skill-set that is drawn directly from the approach of formal philosophy. Internalizing such a process gives students a platform from which they can built and express their own ideas while simultaneously teaching them to be receptive to and responsive to opposing viewpoints.

In some ways, the dialectic that is encouraged by the formal study of philosophy is based on the central premise of questioning and using logic to construct an answer. This is evident in the way that Heyting, Lenzen, and White define the impact of Kantian philosophy on the way knowledge is regarded. According to their book Methods in Philosophy of Education  (2001) one of Kant’s most important impacts on modern thought was that his ideas helped to shape the way we look at knowledge. Specifically, Kant forwarded the idea that knowledge can be effectively separated scientific or metaphysical types of knowledge. The book insists that: “It was Kant who put philosophy on a new track – the transcendental track – where it became the proper task of philosophy to articulate the conditions of possibility of true (scientific) knowledge [and] true metaphysical knowledge.” 6 The reason that the mention of Kant is so important to the discussion of teaching philosophy to young children is because it shows to a practical extent the way in which philosophy grapples with the issue of knowledge itself.

Merely by initiating young children into the idea that there are various types of knowledge is an important aspect of the influence that the study of philosophy can evidence.  In aforementioned case of Kant, the idea that scientific and metaphysical knowledge are separate categories can be a liberating thought to many children who might otherwise believe that the only true knowledge is based in verifiable fact. In reality knowledge is not only the process of understanding facts , but also of understanding reasons and motivations as well as processes and associations. The study of philosophy encourages young children to understand that ambiguity is a constant fixture of knowledge, even when the knowledge is based in  science. The book Methods in Philosophy of Education insists that “analytic philosophy, including philosophy of mind not least, becomes closely associated with self-knowledge.” 7 The process of any education is therefore, to a significant degree. based in instructing the student in ways to become more knowledgeable about themselves.

Of course this process is centered on understanding the nature of learning itself. the self-knowledge that is most required for young children in relation to philosophy is that which connects directly to the formation of beliefs and ethical values. As previously mentioned, philosophy embraces the idea that knowledge and ethics are deeply inter-related. Young children often instinctively view knowledge and moral “correctness” as being associated very closely with one another. Similarly, young children are prone to associating their beliefs and “factual” opinions very closely with their self-identities. This latter point is extremely pertinent to the discussion at hand , particularly because it refutes a general tendency by educators and philosophers to under-estimate the importance of the intellectual self-identity that is present adn continuously evolving in young children.

In the article “Philosophy and Theory in the Study of Gifted Children,” David Gordon White indicates that, for the most part, the self-identity of young children has been overlooked by most observers. He writes that “it is a fair generalization that philosophers in the West have tended to assume that the most compelling aspects of the human condition originate sometime after adolescence cools off and […] we have lurched […] into adulthood.”8 Such a vision is conducive to resisting the idea that teaching philosophy to young children is an important part of the educational process. However, this vision is specious because it is the early childhood years that set the foundation for an individual’s future self-identity. Nowhere is this more apparent than in regard tot eh issue of learning and knowledge. A young student begins to form an identity and a set of beliefs about knowledge which is ultimately brought to fruition in the later, adult years. The child, of course, begins to consider intellectual ambitions and goals from a very early age. Sometimes, later beliefs and conflicts in an individual’s life can be seen to have originated during the early childhood years of that individual’s life.

White suggests that even young children begin to have an ambition to assert and define themselves intellectually. he writes that students often seek to attain a level of achievement that they associate with themselves but which rightly is the level of achievement they might later attain as adults. He writes that for many students it is painful when they realize that their intellectual ambitions actually reflect the “possibility of a level of achievement that is in some sense visible but remains distant from the realm of practical realization.” 9 This demonstrates that children, in contrast to some articulations of general opinion, actually do form self-identities that are based in intellectual ambition and capacity. Obviously, the study of philosophy is a powerful reinforcement for the positive self-image and intellectual competence that is germinating in young children during their grade school years.

What the study of philosophy by young children really targets is the capacity for students to teach themselves. this is highly significant,as previously mentioned, because it provides each student with a skill-set and self-reliant capacity to continue learning long after their school career has ended. Such an approach to education is inherently respectful of the student  and is also inherently respectful of the student-teacher relationship.  Rather than placing the student in a position of pure submission to the teacher’s superior knowledge and power, the philosophical approach to learning inspires the student to feel self-educated to a meaningful degree. Just as the pursuit of philosophy can be regarded as the pursuit of self-knowledge as outlined above, the processes used in philosophy, as previously outlined above, can be regarded as tools of learning that remain available to the student in any environment.

In the article,”Philosophy Perspectives in Teaching Social Studies,” (2000) Marlow Ediger argues that, under certain conditions where self-learning is emphasized, the teacher takes on a much more supportive than domineering role. She writes that under these circumstances “the teacher then needs to set the stage with interesting learning opportunities which encourage pupils to identify questions. What is desired in learning should come from the pupil […] the teacher’s role is to assist pupils to find information to their questions.” 10  This kind of vision is quite radical in terms of how it measures up against the traditional vision of the teacher-student relationship. The reality is, however, that such a paradigm is the one which is best-suited to guiding students to become both self-sufficient learners, but to hold their intellectual capacities and achievements at the highest level of respect.

Ediger  goes on t argue that the choice of curriculum is an area where teachers can exert tremendous influence in shaping and directing the student’s pursuit of knowledge. She insists that such a function is a great responsibility for teachers and that it should be handled with utmost seriousness and rationality. She writes “it is of utmost importance to choose subject matter for pupils to achieve with utmost scrutiny and care.” 11 One of the most important criteria, according to Ediger, is whether or not a curriculum poses problem-solving challenges to the students. The chosen curriculum should test the concepts and applications that were presented in the study of philosophy. The influence of teachers is profound even in the context of guiding children to self-discovery rather than adhering to traditional models of knowledge-testing and memorization.

As opposed to teaching by rote, the integration of the philosophy as a field of study for young students allows for teachers to adopt varying techniques for learning. This is due to the fact that young students who have a background in philosophy are more able to understand and respond to various learning strategies. As Haynes points out, mos people, when asked, believe that a child’s education should deliver something meaningful to the child beyond the simple ability to pass a series of standardized tests.  Haynes writes that “Many people […]have put forward the argument that young people need to be taught to think critically and logically, to analyze ideas, to organize sound arguments and to make well informed judgements.”12 this viewpoint offers specific goals of education that fall far outside the parameters of mere testing.

Again, in terms of generating a lasting sense of self-reliance and self-reference for students, the study of philosophy is of profound help. If the goal is to produce students who are individually capable of applying judgement and rational thought to problems,  decision-making, and learning, then the influence of philosophy can only be regarded as necessary and beneficial. Haynes reinforces this idea by asserting that not only is the influence of philosophy a positive influence on young students, but it is an appropriate and highly necessary influence on initiating young people into a democratic society. According to Haynes, the process of dialogue and critical thinking that is an essential part of the study of philosophy is also a deeply democratic pursuit. Haynes writes that “Teachers who encourage questioning and critical thinking in their pupils are engaging in a practice that has been fundamental to the concept of a rounded education in a democracy.” 13 The benefits of teaching philosophy to young children are many, and one of the most important is the way in which philosophical study helps students to better understand and appreciate the process of their democratic government and their relation, as individuals, to democracy and politics.

The ideals of philosophy that help to encourage students to become able to self-educate are important not only because they simultaneously reinforce individuality and social responsibility, but because they relate to issues of creativity and invention.  Haynes affirms that the philosophical precepts of logic and self-reflection encourage young students to develop a rapport with their creative and inventive capabilities.  In fact, Haynes views the pursuit of philosophy and rational discourse as forming the basic traditions from which creativity and invention are born. She observes that “Teaching pupils to think for themselves, to question received knowledge and to learn through challenge, scrutiny and deliberation of ideas has been at the very heart of a view of education that espouses creativity, invention and progress.”14 This is a very crucial point to remember because it points to pragmatic results outside of the merely subjective and personal that can be expected to be associated with teaching philosophy to young children. The introduction of philosophy as  subject helps stimulate the individual creative  and logical capacities of young students.

One further important influence that is associated with the study of philosophy by young children is that such study helps to promote a sense of self-respect and community respect in students. This is partially due to the ongoing exposure that students who learn basic philosophical ideas have to listening to opposing viewpoints and seeing a larger variance of perspectives in regard to any given issue. It is also due to the fact that by learning basic precepts such as logic and self-reflection, students who have been exposed to philosophy are generally more comfortable with defending their own positions or even changing their positions when given new information. It is possible that the study of philosophy by young children has an even greater influence over the growing of self-respect and respect for others than is presently understood.  Certainly, as Haynes suggests, “everyone agrees that self-respect and respect for others should be a result of having been educated. It does seem that in some ways we value knowledge more than understanding, and wisdom even less.”15 This means, of course, that what most of us want out of an education system is an effective way for individual students to access what is best in themselves and what holds the best potential value for themselves as members of a community  and for  their communities and nation as a whole.

The ultimate goal of teaching philosophy to young children is to stimulate the curios and rational capacities at the same time. Philosophy is a perfect tool for accomplishing his kind of stimulation because “Philosophical dialogue offers good opportunities to take part in conceptual analysis, to use logical thinking and to engage with nuances of meaning and interpretation.”16 The end-result of learning this process is that “ children learn to point out inconsistencies in argument and the need to consider many examples in order to judge whether something may be true or not.” 17 Of course, as has been repeatedly pointed out in this examination, the precepts that are learned by studying philosophy are widely applicable to almost any area of study that can be named.

One of the ares that the philosophical method significantly helps young students to understand is cross-cultural dialogue or cooperation. Because the study of philosophy encourages students to consider many alternative ideas and perspectives, the challenge of cross-cultural understanding can be met with the same intellectual ideals. In her article, “De-Centering the Self: Teaching Philosophy, Religion, and Culture,” (2006) Jennifer Marlowe argues that philosophical study allow individuals to see outside of their own cultural biases. She writes that “the philosophical orientation of self-hood that a culture does not follow can nevertheless be appreciated and accessible as a background or an underemphasized aspect of its own world.”18 This is an especially germane point given the fact of globalization and international interconnectedness that has been increased in modern times.

Helping students prepare to meet and overcome a host of intellectual challenges should be the goal of any educational program.  In terms of the way that the study of philosophy by young children helps to built solid intellectual skills for meeting range of issues and ideas, including cross-cultural understanding, one of the immediate impacts is that students gain an deeper appreciation for current events.  The student sees the same dynamic that is discovered in self-study and community dialogue at work nationally and globally. Manlowe observes that “another way to illustrate how these philosophical orientations of self-hood operate differently in divergent cultures is to draw from current events that illustrate cultural misunderstanding of primary orientation.”19 The young student who is given the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of philosophy is better able to understand the way that philosophical aspects shape history and current events.

The preceding examination of why philosophy should be taught to young children has emphasized several highly valid benefits to the study of philosophy. Among these benefits are the reinforcing of good logic, the admitting of alternate viewpoints, the instilling of self-reliance and self-determination in regard to learning and ideas, as well as the ability to appreciate the relative value of knowledge and the benefits of cross-cultural understanding and cooperation. As mentioned, the study of philosophy also initiates the student into a pattern of intellectual  behavior that is conducive to learning and self-education across a wide variety of subjects and skills. Furthermore, the study of philosophy by young children is fundamentally indicated by the innate demeanor, interests, and intellectual curiosity (and honesty) that is evident in children of primary school age. These benefits, alone, would constitute a more than valid argument in favor of teaching philosophy to young children. That said, there are additional benefits to teaching philosophy to young children that have not been addressed so far in the present examination.

One of the more subtle but nonetheless important benefits relates to the evolution of teaching styles and standards. right along with the issue of whether or not teaching styles and standards are helping young people prepare for the modern world rather than the world of the past is the issue of whether or not teaching styles and curriculums are doing an adequate job of keeping young children interested and engaged in their studies.  Wagner remarks that the traditional strategies of stiff testing and oppressive fact-based “drilling’ have lost their ability to keep students energized and excited about their schoolwork. Wagner writes that “Most students complain that so-called academically rigorous college prep high school courses are incredibly boring and irrelevant to their present and future lives.”20 Instead of coupling the idea of learning with the idea of rote discipline, modern conceptions of education emphasize connecting issues of learning with issues of personal merit and ethical bearing.

The change in the way that education is perceived to best help young people corresponds to the changing  way that society is structured. in the past, the systems of education that wer prominent were those which emphasized learning a basic skill-set in regard to arithmetic, language, and history. these ideas that were drawn from general knowledge and facts and “drilled”into students were meant to prepare the student for a relatively stable, unchanging environment. As Wagner reminds us, “WhWhenen our system of education was invented a hundred years or so ago, most people in this country earned their living with their hands.” 21 The largely agrarian and later, factory-centered, culture had little need for adaptable skill-sets and modes of learning that could move from one set of circumstances to another. the internalizing of basic math, reading, and civics were enough to acquaint the average citizen with all they would likely be required to know when living out their lives by working with their hands.

However, in modern times, the vast majority of people have moved to tech-centered jobs where it is intellectual acuity, rather than manual dexterity, that has proven to be the skill that is demanded.  With this move away from  hand-labor to intellectual labor, a corresponding shift in education is not only  advisable, it is mandatory. The fact is that young children today face a world that is much more intellectual rigorous than that which was faced by previous generations. This is why the study of philosophy is so vital to the continuing relevancy of the education system. Wagner asserts that in contrast during the agrarian or industrial eras, intellectuality was not particularly needed: “For most of the last century, the vast majority of work in this country required very little or no formal education-beyond the ability to follow the boss’s orders and show up for work on time.”22 This is obviously no longer the case.

The study of philosophy by young children is simply a part of the shifting paradigm that is impacting not only education but the entirety of American culture. A society that moves from being manufacturing to service based is one which necessarily becomes more intellectual and therefore more in need of holistic systems of education. the incorporation of philosophy as s subject for grade school children is an  indispensable outgrowth of this cultural evolution. The teaching of philosophy to grade school children may well prove to be one of the most efficient ways of helping young people rise to the challenges of the future. beyond the fact that the study of philosophy engages young students and brings them a large degree of enthusiasm for learning and for self-education, the learning of philosophy also helps to place teachers and students in a  new relationship, one which advocates a sense of mutual gratification rather than existing purely in a power dynamic.

If there are any drawbacks to teaching philosophy to young children, they may be based in the topic of ambiguity and uncertainty. Learning that knowledge is relative and that shifting circumstances change “facts” in science no less than in art, may prove to be daunting for some young people. This is due to the tendency that many people, including children, seem to exhibit for wanting things to be cut and dried. Because the study of philosophy encourages children to accept “gray areas’ relative to knowledge and facts, some children might find it challenging to remain focused on learning because it is, intrinsically, ambiguous.

However, it is unclear as to whether or not the compensatory freedom of individual thought that goes along with such an understanding will act as an antidote to the disappointment in finding out that facts and knowledge are sometimes based on rapidly shifting certainties. As the preceding discussion has clearly illustrated, the study of philosophy by young children is, in an all around sense, a much needed positive reform to the education system. The benefits of teaching philosophy to young children are many while the associated costs or risks are negligible.  Therefore the best conclusion to reach on the subject is that philosophy should be added to the curriculum of every grade-school in the nation,as it is a powerful tool of educational reform and rebirth in the modern world.

Notes

  1. Tony Wagner, Making the Grade: Reinventing America’s Schools (New York: Routledge, 2003), 15.
  2. Ibid. 37.
  3. Joanna Haynes, Children as Philosophers: Learning through Enquiry and Dialogue in the Primary Classroom (London: Routledge Falmer, 2002), 7.
  4. Cromer, Alan. Connected Knowledge: Science, Philosophy, and Education (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 183.
  5. Joanna Haynes, Children as Philosophers: Learning through Enquiry and Dialogue in the Primary Classroom (London: Routledge Falmer, 2002), 21.
  6. Frieda Heyting, Dieter Lenzen, and John White, eds., Methods in Philosophy of Education (London: Routledge, 2001), 128.
  7. Ibid, 15.
  8. David Gordon White, “Philosophy and Theory in the Study of Gifted Children,” Roeper Review 26, no. 1 (2003).
  9. Ibid.
  10. Marlow Ediger, “Philosophy Perspectives in Teaching Social Studies,” Journal of Instructional Psychology 27, no. 2 (2000): 112.
  11. Ibid.
  12. 1. Joanna Haynes, Children as Philosophers: Learning through Enquiry and Dialogue in the Primary Classroom (London: Routledge Falmer, 2002), 34.
  13. Ibid, 35.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ibid, 31.
  16. Ibid, 35.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Jennifer Manlowe, “De-Centering the Self: Teaching Philosophy, Religion, and Culture,” East-West Connections 6, no. 1 (2006).
  19. Ibid.
  20. Tony Wagner, Making the Grade: Reinventing America’s Schools (New York: Routledge, 2003), 90.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Ibid.

Bibliography

Cromer, Alan. Connected Knowledge: Science, Philosophy, and Education. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Ediger, Marlow. “Philosophy Perspectives in Teaching Social Studies.” Journal of Instructional Psychology 27, no. 2 (2000): 112.

Haynes, Joanna. Children as Philosophers: Learning through Enquiry and Dialogue in the Primary Classroom. London: Routledge Falmer, 2002.

Heyting, Frieda, Dieter Lenzen, and John White, eds. Methods in Philosophy of Education. London: Routledge, 2001.

Manlowe, Jennifer. “De-Centering the Self: Teaching Philosophy, Religion, and Culture.” East-West Connections 6, no. 1 (2006): 14+.

Wagner, Tony. Making the Grade: Reinventing America’s Schools. New York: Routledge, 2003.

White, David Gordon. “Philosophy and Theory in the Study of Gifted Children.” Roeper Review 26, no. 1 (2003): 16+.

15 pages 7 sources  Chicago / Turabian

The reasons most often given for engaging young children in philosophy have to do with strengthening their cognitive and communicative skills, and introducing them to formative ethical and political ideas. These ways in which philosophy is “good for” children are valuable objectives, to be sure, but they all derive from a more primary reason to do philosophy with young children: that it is meaningful for them. Young children are naturally inquisitive. They struggle to make sense of their everyday experience and of the academic, social and cultural knowledge they begin to acquire at school – a process they typically enjoy, at least until it becomes routinized and associated with high-stakes rewards and punishments. Young children’s curiosity and wonderment are easily triggered. They are full of questions – and significantly, many of their questions have philosophical content.

Young children’s experience is already replete with philosophical meaning. They have strong, even visceral, intuitions of what is beautiful and ugly, fair and unfair, right and wrong. They enjoy playing with language and are intrigued by logical puzzles. They are given to metaphysical speculation and frequently engage in epistemology: asking how we know what we think we know. Indeed, many professional philosophers date their interest in philosophy to their early childhoods. And as children approach adolescence, they begin to confront existential questions such as: What does it all mean? Is life ever fair? and What do I think my life is for?

Elementary school philosophy, therefore, is not about imposing an unfamiliar, ancient and highly intellectual discipline on children, in hopes it might be good for them, but about giving them the opportunity to explore ethical, aesthetic, political, logical and other philosophical aspects of their experiences that are already intensely meaningful for them, but that are not often given attention in schools (or elsewhere). In that regard, the reasons for elementary school philosophy should be the same as those for every other school subject, e.g. science, mathematics, literature and history. We expect these subjects to not only prepare children to study them at advanced levels later in life, but to enrich their lives now with scientific, mathematical, literary, historical and philosophical meaning.

This research paper should emphasize the importance of integrating the study of philosophy into elementary education with emphasis on historical philosophical thought to support this theory. There needs to be a strong and clear thesis to support this idea.