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Minds, Personhood, and the Gingerbread Man: Integrating Philosophy into Emergent Preschool Curriculum

Weber, Sage
The philosophy for children movement (P4C), originally developed in the early 1970s, is based upon the idea that philosophical inquiry can be immensely beneficial to the development of young people and also meet the goals of educators. In most cases, P4C curriculum involves the use of distinct lesson plans on given philosophical topics, implemented using structured dialogue. This educational movement is directed at middle and elementary school students, with little work with children below the age of eight. Very young children have been largely excluded from the scope of P4C. Additionally, the curriculum seems rigid and with little variation, in many cases eliminating the relevance of philosophy to the daily lives of those participating. This project explores these holes in P4C by studying the implementation of philosophy with a group of preschool children, using principles of emergent curriculum. This paper will describe the process of developing philosophical curriculum for preschoolers in an emergent environment, outline the most critical veins of philosophical inquiry that the children engaged in, and illustrate the array of developmental and educational benefits that arose from the project.
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