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July 2017 NUI Galway Philosophy creates next wave of Irish philosophers
Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a new programme running at NUI Galway. The programme has been delivered to students in Scoil Iognáid in Galway city in conjunction with NUI Galway’s Alive Volunteering Programme and Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI).
The Programme in Scoil Iognáid was delivered by seven facilitators from the School of Philosophy at NUI Galway and 80 pupils took part. This is the first phase in a new initiative by Philosophy.
Philosophy for Children is a pupil-led process that encourages thinking through democratic dialogue, helping to foster critical, creative, collaborative and caring thinking amongst all types of learners. Through this internationally practised pedagogy, pupil groups become communities of enquiry tackling philosophical questions they formulate themselves and identify themselves.
Recent research in the UK found that pupils involved in Philosophy for Children showed improvements in literacy, numeracy and various social skills following its implementation in the classroom.
The project got off to a flying start with Ireland’s future philosophers themselves. Pupils said: “Thank you so much for coming to our class. I really enjoyed Philosophy for Children and it made me think about a lot more things. I have had such fun. This experience has been amazing.We stretched our minds and became more open minded and worked together.”
Principal of Scoil Iognáid, Laoise Breathnach said: “Philosophy with children acknowledges them as capable thinkers and accords them an active role in the construction of knowledge. This NUI Galway philosophy initiative has, in line with Scoil Iognáid ethos, created a learning space for enquiry and dialogue where talking and thinking about thinking is highly valued. The philosophy sessions have actively fostered the skills of questioning, predicting, contradicting and doubting and have enriched the quality of the children’s discussion and argumentative abilities so much so that the main question in Scoil Iognáid at the moment is when are the philosophers coming back?”
Philosophy at NUI Galway hopes to expand its Philosophy for Children programme in the coming year by working with more schools across the city. This expansion will also include an exciting collaboration with the Tulca Festival of Visual Arts this November.
The School of Philosophy at NUI Galway in partnership with EXPLORE will welcome young philosophers aged 9-12 years on campus for two week-long ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ summer camps. These camps will run between the 31 July - 4 August and 14-18 August.
Through this programme children will obtain ‘big ideas’ through activities using music, sport, art, science and film. NUI Galway facilitators will be joined by experienced P4C trainer Marelle Rice from Philosophy Ireland. In the coming academic years, P4C will be embedded as a Peer Assisted Learning tool within NUI Galway’s School of Philosophy thanks to an ambitious plan drafted by Head of the School, Dr Heike Felzmann who received funding from NUI Galway’s Student Project Fund.
For more inforamtion see: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/whats-the-big-idea-summer-camp-tickets-35045010570