How to play

OK. You have a small group of curious children, and now you also have a beautiful, philosophically-themed book; some related philosophical questions and activities; and a handful of provocative quotations from philosophers throughout history. What next?

Help your children learn and practice the skills of philosophical enquiry. Recognise that philosophy opens up complex subjects, with no guarantee of definitive answers. Philosophical questions are by nature unsettled and contestable – help children understand this. Withhold your own views, and solicit theirs. Gently demand a close examination of beliefs. Encourage well-considered judgements, justified by good reasons, even in the face of uncertainty.

Listen deeply. Play with ideas. Show your own intrigue and puzzlement, your curiosity about the children’s insights, your appreciation of their creativity, and your recognition of their efforts at philosophical investigation.

Model and recognise good thinking skills: observation, reflection, clarification, reasoning, clear expression, scepticism and self-correction. Expect the children to treat everyone with respect, even where they disagree. Show the children that contrary ideas, if supported by good reasons and evidence, can help them challenge their beliefs and deepen their understanding.

Follow the dialogue wherever it leads.

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