What is P4C?

Philosophy For Children (P4C)

Hazel Oak is a Thinking School. 

We embrace P4C as an exciting and successful approach to learning and all children throughout school benefit from weekly P4C enquiries, facilitated by our highly trained and enthusiastic staff.

Our class groups are named after Philosophers, we take part in Philosothons with other local P4C schools and we will soon be a recognised Bronze Award School.

What is P4C?

P4C builds higher order thinking, questioning, speaking and listening skills and supports the development of children's thinking skills, concentrating on the 4Cs of philosophical thinking – Caring, Creative, Critical, and Collaborative. We believe that this helps to nurture children socially, to improve their learning across the curriculum and to develop the confidence to voice opinions, whilst respecting others’ views.

P4C is an approach to learning and teaching, now a recognised worldwide movement and practice, that was founded by Professor Matthew Lipman. It has developed over 35 years, and is practised in approximately 60 countries.

P4C Enquiries - what happens?

Children are taught how to create their own philosophical questions. They then choose one question that is the focus of a philosophical enquiry, or dialogue.  For example the question might be “Is it ever ok to steal?”. 

The teacher, as facilitator, supports the children in their thinking, reasoning and questioning, as well as the way the children speak and listen to each other in the dialogue.  

After the enquiry the children and facilitator reflect on the quality of the thinking, reasoning and participation, and suggest how they could improve; either as individuals or as a group (Community). 


At Hazel Oak P4C is a timetabled regular activity so that the children develop their skills and understanding over time.  The role of the facilitator is crucial to ensuring quality dialogue and progress, as well as integration with the curriculum; all our staff are trained by SAPERE (Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education). 

P4C is becoming embedded in the cross-curricular teaching and learning, and day to day life, at Hazel Oak - we are looking forward to developing further as we complete SAPERE’s award framework which provides guidance on progression towards achieving outstanding and sustainable P4C practice for the pupils, the teachers and the school. 


It is well documented that P4C has an impact on children's cognitive, social and emotional development. P4C is about getting children to think and communicate well; to think better for themselves.


There is further information on the SAPERE website www.sapere.org.uk.