The Importance of Teaching Philosophy to Kids

Philosophy is not just for academics or professionals; it is an activity that everyone can engage in, regardless of age. Teaching philosophy to children has become increasingly popular, and for good reason.

Doing philosophy with children can achieve three vital things: it gets them pondering the significant philosophical ideas that are fundamental to the way we live our lives, it gets them thinking critically and logically, and it allows them to explore those big ideas collaboratively with their peers.

In this blog, we explore the significance of teaching philosophy to kids and  its relevance to encouraging critical thinking in kids.

What will children learn from philosophy?

Firstly, doing philosophy with kids enables them to contemplate big philosophical ideas that are central to our lives. Philosophical ideas such as justice, freedom, truth, and existence are familiar to children, and they wonder about them.

For instance, if you believe something, and my friend believes something different, is one of us right and the other wrong? How much should you teach children to help others? These big philosophical questions demand deep reflection and contemplation, and they allow children to understand different perspectives on life. Engaging with these questions encourages children to think beyond the mundane, and to ask themselves important questions about the world around them.

Secondly, doing philosophy with kids promotes critical and logical thinking. Philosophical thinking is about exploring big ideas in a disciplined and rigorous way, using reason and logic to better understand them. It involves searching for examples and counterexamples, seeking alternatives, recognizing mistakes, and developing a sound argument. Children need to learn to think critically and logically to navigate through today's world of social media, conspiracy theories, and the need for personal accountability. They need to learn how to articulate not just what they think, but why they think it. They should be able to think creatively and critically, wonder, imagine, puzzle, reflect and question, and talk excitedly about things like justice and freedom.

Thirdly, doing philosophy with kids enables collaboration. Doing philosophy in a classroom setting is a communal activity that fosters listening, respect for others' ideas, exploration of disagreements, and willingness to change one's mind. Children learn to listen carefully and patiently to others' ideas, explore disagreements respectfully, and move towards becoming more reasonable and reflective people. Engaging in philosophical discourse promotes collaboration, and children learn to work with their peers to explore significant philosophical ideas.

In addition, philosophy encourages children to reflect on their experiences and emotions, gaining a better understanding of themselves and their beliefs. They also learn to be more open-minded and compassionate towards others by exploring different world views and ways of thinking.

Moreover, philosophy helps children develop a sense of ethics and values by reflecting on what is right and wrong, and considering the implications of their actions. They can also become more confident and improve their communication skills by engaging in philosophical discussions and debates.

Tips for parents and educators:

  • Encourage questioning and curiosity: Encourage kids to ask questions and be curious about the world around them. When kids are curious, they are more likely to engage in critical thinking and philosophical discussions.
  • Provide opportunities for discussion: Create a safe and welcoming environment for kids to express their thoughts and ideas. Provide opportunities for discussion and debate, and encourage kids to listen to and respect differing opinions.
  • Use age-appropriate resources: Use age-appropriate resources, such as children's books, movies, and games, to introduce philosophical concepts and encourage critical thinking. Start with simple concepts and gradually build up to more complex ideas as kids get older.
  • Model critical thinking: Model critical thinking by questioning assumptions, considering multiple perspectives, and exploring different possibilities. Encourage kids to do the same and to think critically about their own beliefs and ideas.


Camhy, D. G., & Iberer, G. (1988). Philosophy for children: A research project for further mental and personality development of primary and secondary school pupils. Thinking: The Journal of Philosophy for Children, 7(4), 18-25.

Daniel, M. F., & Auriac, E. (2011). Philosophy, critical thinking and philosophy for children. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 43(5), 415-435.

Karadağ, F., & Demirtaş, V. Y. (2018). The Effectiveness of The Philosophy with Children Curriculum on Critical Thinking Skills of Pre-School Children. Education & Science/Egitim ve Bilim, 43(195).

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