PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN
Program Leader : Assist. Professor Dr. Senem KURTAR
Age: 12-14 Years
Education Period: 4 Half Days
What is this philosophy? On the one hand it is something deeply related with everything that surrounds and constitutes our lives. So as one of our tiny philosophers says “there is a philosophy of even simple things”. On the other hand, it is being able to see all of them as a whole that requires a more abstract and a universal gaze slipped from the superficial meaning. In this manner it aims to think freely and creatively. Well, and then can children do philosophy? Look what the famous Greek philosopher Socrates says about this issue: “An honest human always remains as a child”. Honesty is the most basic principle for a good and proper life that describes the philosopher’s life in the best way. One’s being honest to own self and the others. Is there anything more meaningful than this? Accordingly, we can say decidedly that children have fundamental principles of a philosopher’s life. They have the most proper attitude to do philosophy authentically with regard to their pure and unprejudiced thinking and comments.
So, why philosophy? What does this philosophy do? What is it used for? To answer those kind of questions we will again appeal to the response of our children: “Philosophy is abstract but it does not stop there because it embodies the abstract things”. Then, philosophy wakes up us from our deep sleep in the world that we live in. It blocks radically whatever all that specific daily flow has or, whatever all that we think we known or we think we learned to be reduced to a memorization or routine. Philosophy provides us questioning and thinking things andthrough that we can create or produce new concepts, new ideas.
It teaches us keeping knowledge and all fields of knowledge in perspective and learning their truths and values. Thus, critical and creative thinking is inspired. Furthermore it develops ability to think dialectical by taking dichotomies into consideration such as good and bad, ugly and beautiful, true and false together. It also strenghtens our grasping of being, knowledge and value. In this way, it gives direction to the acts as grounding, knowing and valuing something. Finally, philosophy shows us our own way in the life. Moreover philosophy shows us “ways”. But there always remains a never-ending distance between us and what we are trying to reach and to call their meaning. Therefore, our quest is never-ending. Also philosopher said not in vain that “Philosophy is being on the road”. We, too, are trying to set our children on their road through this program. If philosophy is a vast sea that will fascinate us when we dip our feet in it, we point out the children the way goes to that sea and we walk together.
In the light of all these, the theme of Philosophy for Children program is to start from concrete and familiar life areas, acts and concepts such as questions to be addressed to make sense of life, philosophical games, stories, painting works, dialogues and drama studies. Thus, we aim to make them feel that philosophy is something all about life and also how each of us can approach it in a different way. Here our main concern is to show the importance of expressing their thoughts freely and bravely, to encourage them and by this way awakening them for caring their future. Through all of them, we want to teach them the value of critical and creative thinking to form their identities and personalities. Without forcing or impocing anything to them, without tightening them, we strive to entertain them and to take care of their own way by their own desires and will.
Thus our goal as “Philosophy for Children” is, to develop critical and creative thinking skills that describes the activity of doing philosophy in the most direct way. For this, mision of our program is to create a friendly atmoshphere accompanied with children and young teachers and by this way encourage to think on something or to think on itself freely.
The Importance of Dialogue in Education of Philosophy: Activities of Philosophy for Children programme firstly aim to understand the importance of dialogue i.e. children’s recognizing each other, expressing him/herself to other, and listening to the other, also listening to his/her thoughts.
Playing Philosophical Games: Games provide to learn doing philosophy without getting bored and also it provides children’s to do something together joyfully. Therefore, we will focus on the philosophy of the game constructed by us in our activities.
Questioning Basic Concepts of Life and Philosohy: How much do we know basic concepts about both philosophy and life such as flourishing (good and beautiful) life, love and frienship, truth and appearance, prejudices and habits, happiness, suffering, badness, hate, freedom and responsibility?
Explaining Basic Concepts By Painting/Drawing Pictures: This is an entertaining and creative activity that brings philosophy and art together. Thus philosophy is brought the possibility of explaining by the visual.
Completing Stories: In this activity, universal moral values and rights, duties and responsibilities are telling with short strories. Yet the stories are left with outstanding and then the children are asked to complete them. Thus we aim to develop children’s imagination.
Animations: In particular, the environment and technology themed animations are selected. By this way here our goal is increasing children’s environmental awareness and promoting their using of technology consciously.