Teaching Philosophy to 2nd Graders Yields Thoughtful Results

Watch this endearing and thought-provoking trailer of a documentary by Julie Akeret presented by WGBY and coming later in 2014, pending  funding. The film documents classes conducted at Martin Luther King Charter School in Springfield MA. by Mount Holyoke College with a diverse group of second graders who learn to love books and reading as they argue about some of life’s headiest issues using picture books as a starting point for their discussions.

While philosophy is not usually part of a second-grade curriculum, this documentary accompanies college students who lead a series of philosophy classes for six- and seven-year-olds.  These children learn some of the basic rules for having a philosophical discussion, from what it means to be a listener who respects differences in opinion, to how to build a good argument when making a point. You can see some of the results in this trailer when young students are asked not only what they think, but why.

Mount Holyoke students are under the guidance of Philosophy Professor Thomas Wartenberg and President Lynn Pasquerella with the goal of giving children an opportunity to pursue their natural curiosity and inclination for philosophy. In their curriculum, picture books become catalysts for philosophical discussion and an effective way to foster critical thinking skills as well as a lifelong love of reading.

You can learn more about funding at WGBY’s website.





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