University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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The University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children conducts workshops in Seattle and around the country for teachers, parents and other adults interested in facilitating philosophical dialogues with young people. Since its founding, the Center has run dozens of workshops for teachers and parents about ways to do philosophy with pre-college students.

For more information about our workshops, contact Director Jana Mohr Lone



Workshop: Philosophy in the Schools

This workshop is an intensive introduction to methods for bringing philosophy into K-12 classrooms. Philosophy sessions use children's books and activities to inspire discussions that emerge from the children's own questions, based on the understanding that questioning is central to independent thinking. The workshop will focus on ways in which to establish philosophical "communities of inquiry" in classrooms, and will introduce a conception of what constitutes a philosophical discussion, basic reasoning and logic tools, and the method of Socratic dialogue. The workshop will also provide some general introduction to the discipline of philosophy.

The workshop emphasizes learning by doing. We will form our own community of inquiry, and will spend most of each day discussing philosophical questions such as: When do we know something? What is the self? What is friendship? What is the mind? We will learn how to engage in philosophical dialogues with children by doing it ourselves. The workshop will also provide an introduction to some of the traditional branches of philosophy, including ethics, epistemology, aesthetics, and logic.

Sample Workshop Schedule

Day 1

9:00-9:30am Coffe/tea and pastries/Introduction
9:30-10:15 am Introduction: Community of philosophical inquiry
10:30-11:15 am Are you a philosopher? Games and activities
11:30-12:15 pm Personal indentity -"Double Trouble" and Ship of Theseus
LUNCH (provided)  
12:45-1:30 pm Middle/High School - Epistemology: Plato's Cave
Elementary - Philosophy of Mind: "Cookies" in Frog and Toad Together
1:45-2:30 pm Middle/High School - Ethics: The Bluest Eye
Elementary - Ethics: Amos and Boris
2:45-3:30 pm Middle/High School - Mind/body problem (essay by Thomas Nagel)
Elementary - Metaphysics: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
3:45-4:30 pm Middle/High School - Life and death: The Fault in Our Stars
Elementary - What is fun? "Shivers" in Days with Frong and Toad

Day 2

9:00-9:30 am Coffe/tea and pastries
9:30-10:15 am Middle/High School - Metaphysics: A Wrinkle in Time
Elementary - Metaphysics: Morris the Moose
10:30-11:15 am Middle/High School Metaphisics & ethics: Nature of happiness
Elementary - Metaphysics & epistemology: The Bear That Wasn't
11:30-12:15 am Ethics: You Can't Say You Can't Play
12:15 – 1:30 p.m. Concluding remarks