At Brookside, we use the Philosophy for Children (P4C) approach to teaching and learning, to help children to develop into effective, critical and creative thinkers and to take responsibility for their own learning in a caring and collaborative way. We do this by providing practical ways of developing good thinking, questioning and communications skills.

During regular P4C sessions, children and their teacher share a stimulus, for example, a story, film clip, picture, they then take thinking time to devise their own questions and together the class chooses one question to enquire into further. Children’s questions and thinking in P4C is updated regularly on the website in each year group’s homework section.

With experience, children’s questions get deeper and more thoughtful. The children’s discussions become more disciplined and focused yet, at the same time, more imaginative. The approach not only helps to develop creative and critical thinking skills but also encourages children to care more about what others say and develop the ability to recognize differences and explore these collaboratively.

The aim of P4C is to help children to develop the skills and dispositions that will enable them to contribute as responsible citizens of the future. This supports the schools ethos and values of creating a caring school and classroom environment where children learn to listen to and respect each other.

Often, P4C is linked to a particular topic area or curriculum subject, particularly in English, PSHE or RE. There is the opportunity to make links between matters of personal concern such as love, growing up, friendship, bullying and fairness and more general philosophical issues such as change, personal identity, free will, space, time and truth, right and wrong.

P4C helps to create an environment where a child’s questioning can flourish, developing children’s abilities to ask their own thoughtful questions.

P4C helps to enhance the quality of learning as a whole and raise standards of attainment and achievement.


P4C focuses on developing the 4Cs:

Collaborative – Children are encouraged to work together, listen to each other ideas and build on them.  Children formulate questions together and discuss ideas with one another.

Caring – Children learn to respect each other, listen to each other’s ideas.  Everyone’s opinions are valued.

Critical – Children learn to formulate ‘big wondering’ questions and have in-depth discussions, giving reasons and evidence to support their thinking.

Creative – Children think creatively – formulating questions, suggestions reasons and/or alternative explanations.


All teachers at Brookside have completed Level 1 accredited SAPERE P4C training. 


Philosophy 4 Children (P4C)

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