All Americans know that on fourth Thursday in November they are going to celebrate Thanksgiving. But not everyone knows that a week before the Thanksgiving Day the entire planet celebrates World Philosophy Day. Many kids have philosophy classes at school, although their parents do not understand for what reason those classes are in a school program. We will try to find out what are the benefits of learning philosophy in school.
Philosophy works better than violence
Taking philosophy classes gives a child both personal and social benefits. A kid may become a better person while learning how to think philosophically and improve their communication skills. Moreover, philosophy gives them a new key to solving daily tasks without using violence or causing deep emotional traumas to both themselves and the others.
Andy West is a senior specialist at the Philosophy Foundation—the major British organization that stands for providing more philosophy classes in schools across the U.K. In his recent interview with The Guardian; the training officer confessed that taking philosophy classes literally changed his entire life. As a kid, Mr. West did not have a good start in life and left a high school with three GCSEs (for those who do not know what GCSEs are, they are roughly similar to OWLs from Harry Potter books).
Lucky for him, he went to an open day at college one day and met a philosophy teacher there. His entire life started to change when he heard a question: “How do we know we’re not just dreaming this reality?” Debating with a teacher, looking for the new arguments, he started to realize that his life experience may be used as a source for new thoughts, it may become a base for his future essays and grades. So Andy West went back to school and retook his GCSEs so he could take philosophy. Now, he is a philosophy teacher who works with kids who receive free school meals, so those children will get the same chance to change their lives that he got once.
Another philosophy activist—Michelle Sowey, told The Guardian that kids “have the capacity to enquire philosophically from an early age.” During the philosophy lessons, they learn quickly why some arguments work when others fail. This ability to understand the question and to see the right arguments helps the kids solve various problems, including getting out of a conflict situation without violence.
University course for children
A group of students from the Ursinus College, Pennsylvania, started an experiment with three groups of kids from age 2 to age 11. They created a philosophy course for kids where the youngsters get a chance to develop their reasoning skills. There is a similar international movement with two main centers—at the University of Washington and the Montclair State University. The primary goal of the movement is to improve the reasoning skills in children.
The Ursinus College’s program in not large—there are only about 15 kids to take part in the experimental lessons. During their meeting with the college students, children talk about various topics, from family relationships and friendship to ethics, morality, and religion.
On Saturday, Nov. 21, kids had their first philosophy college classes. The youngest group of the kids aged 2 to 4 read one of Margaret Wise Brown’s books. After that, they discussed the metaphysical aspects of different things and phenomena’s definitions. Next group of 5-to-8-year-old children talked about courage and bravely. The group of the oldest kids discussed the phenomenon of friendship. Kids talk to their new professors, asked questions and looked for the answers. They also draw pictures, trying to visualize their understanding of different things.
Philosophy can make you a better person
While learning philosophy, kids can receive a few vital skills—to think deeply, see the real meaning of the question they were asked, ask the right questions, and express themselves way more clearly. According to a study conducted by The Institute of Education, kids who took philosophy classes improve their reading abilities. Moreover, about 60 percent of parents whose children took part in the research confirmed that their child started to express their point of view clearly and became more articulate.
So, if your kid has a chance to join philosophy class, make sure they will at least try to do so.