Learning Values and Critical Thinking: A P4C Approach for Young Children

Constantin Lomaca, Julie Ann Chiado


It is sometimes said that children are “natural philosophers.” They are curious about the mysteries of the human experience and they have questions about the nature of identity, the meaning and purpose of being alive and whether we can know anything at all. Philosophical Inquiry can help transform classrooms from places that focus on correct answers into spaces where uncertainty is welcome. Philosophy is grounded in questioning and often it is the question that matters most, not necessarily reaching a final answer. Philosophy in schools supports cultivation of independent and critical thinkers. Engaging in philosophical inquiry trains young people to evaluate claims based on reason and analysis. It also facilitates an appreciation by students of the variety of perspectives the world can be viewed. 

The aim of this pilot project was to expose Grade 3 children to a variety of thinking moves and to actively participate in a community of inquirers. Our endeavour was to teach them how to think critically, question ideas, make generalizations, support their claims with evidence and deepen their understanding all while investigating values such as respect, happiness, equity, friendship and responsibility. We believe that the program was successful and we encourage others to consider it when teaching critical thinking and values.


thinking, inquiry, values, community, collaboration, caring, creativity, questioning, reflection, evaluation.

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ISSN 2668-0009; ISSN-L 2668-0009