PHILOSOPHERS SEVEN: Dakota Knox, Hettie Loubser-Reed, Declan Hemphill, Reuben Kobier, Emma Giddy, Molly Davenport and Kane Whitelock will study philosophy at Byron Public School.
PHILOSOPHERS SEVEN: Dakota Knox, Hettie Loubser-Reed, Declan Hemphill, Reuben Kobier, Emma Giddy, Molly Davenport and Kane Whitelock will study philosophy at Byron Public School. Christian Morrow

A new way of thinking for kids

BYRON Bay Public School is introducing philosophy into all its classes over the next two years.

Year 6 teachers began the implementation process last year, with Kindergarten and Year 5 teachers introducing it this year, and Year 3 in 2017.

"Philosophy in school is all about teaching students how to think for themselves and collaboratively," said principal Jeff Spargo.

"It involves developing a 'community of inquiry' based on the values of care and respect for all its members, and which consequently generates its own rules for operation."

In partnership with Buranda State School, Byron Public teachers will attend training days this week.

Mr Spargo said the teaching of philosophy directly addressed many of the general capabilities in the Australian National Curriculum.

Philosophy in schools grew out of Philosophy for Children, which was first developed by Professor Matthew Lipman in the United States during the 1970s.

While teaching Philosophy at Columbia University in New York, Professor Lipman realised that many of the undergraduates he was trying to teach had not been taught how to think effectively.

He decided to attack the problem at its root, by teaching philosophy to young children.

Mr Spargo said the incorporation of philosophical inquiry into the students' learning would enable children to participate in facilitated philosophical discussions about the big questions of life and provide them with the skills to share ideas, thoughts and beliefs.

"It will assist them in the development of thinking and social skills and encourage them to develop hypotheses, to build on each other's ideas, justify decisions and recognise inconsistencies in arguments," he said.