World Philosophy Day and Universal Children's Day!

Today is a big one for us.  It's a celebration of children, and we spend a great deal of time and energy creating materials to help young learners in STEM and in 21st Century learning.  What's more, we're also a part of a community that supports the teaching of philosophy to young thinkers.  You can see why we're jazzed, and I hope you forgive me for getting up on my soap box and singing the praises of the latter practice.

If you're unfamiliar with P4C (or philosophy for children), it's a worldwide movement to introduce an ancient practice to modern kids. Practitioners are finding that children who are taught to think philosophically from a young age develop better critical thinking and communication skills, perform better in a variety of subject areas, and have fewer behavioral issues. Philosophy makes children more aware of themselves, other people, and the world around them.  Generally speaking, it helps them to become better thinkers, the kinds of thinkers we hope will come up with innovative new ideas and change the world (pardon my hyperbole, but I've seen some good stuff happen).

For all the grown-ups out there who are a little hesitant to do philosophy with their kids, or who just didn't know this kind of thing was happening, I'd like to extend an invitation.  There are materials out there to help children get into philosophy (insert shameless plug here).  There's also lots of stuff out there to help bigger thinkers get their feet wet.  In honor of both celebrations taking place today, here are some of our favorites.

If you're curious about philosophy in general, check out:

  • YouTube channels like Thunk, Philosophy Tube, and Wisecrack, producers of 8-Bit Philosophy.  All three are fun, interesting, and put out by people who understand the value of philosophical thinking.
  • Check out the shelves of your local bookstore.  Yeah, you'll find hardcore philosophical volumes like Plato's Republic, but you'll also find books of thought experiments, history and life lessons.  Our favorite authors in this area include Marietta McCarty, Peter Cave, and Julian Baggini.
  • Watch a movie! Flicks like After the Dark and Happy will get your mind moving.
  • Believe it or not, there's an app for that too.

Whether you're interested in doing philosophy with the children in your life, or you've always wanted to give it a shot yourself, there's never been a better day to start.  Happy thinking, everyone!

Amy Leask is VP of Enable Education and founder of Enable Publishing and KidsThinkAboutIt.