NORTHWEST CENTER FOR PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN PHILOSOPHERS IN THE SCHOOLS PROGRAM
The “Philosophers in the Schools” program at University of Washington, begun by the Department of Philosophy’s Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children in 1999, educates grad students and undergraduates about ways to introduce philosophy to pre-college classrooms, and then sends these UW students into Seattle public schools to conduct philosophy sessions, at no cost to the schools.
Through a partnership with the University’s Pipeline Project, the UW outreach program that connects students with tutoring and mentoring opportunities in local schools, placements are arranged for students to lead philosophy sessions in a number of local public schools, from elementary through high school.
The program includes three Philosophy for Children seminars, one each quarter. The intensive fall quarter 5-credit class meets twice weekly and the winter and spring “Inner Pipeline” seminars (2-4 credits) meet weekly. All three courses require weekly sessions in local schools. The courses are team-taught by Center Director Jana Mohr Lone, Education Director David Shapiro and Program Director Sara Goering. Students are welcome to take all three classes, each of which involve different topics and materials.
Our Philosophy for Children seminars introduce UW students to methods of doing philosophy with young people by stressing the formation of a philosophical community of inquiry, in which students are encouraged to ask their own questions, develop views and articulate reasons for them, and learn from one another. Students facilitate philosophical discussions on a variety of topics, including the nature of mind, time, knowledge, identity, ethics, art, and freedom. The emphasis is on learning by doing. Students discuss their experiences in local classrooms and are assisted in developing engaging ways to introduce philosophy to K-12 students.
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