PHILOSOPHY IN PRIMARY CLASSROOMS
Young children are naturally inquisitive. They struggle to make sense of their everyday
experience and of the academic, social and cultural knowledge they begin to acquire
at school – a process they typically enjoy. Young children’s curiosity and wonderment
are easily triggered. The School believes in offering high quality learning opportunities
to all children. In this way, children flourish and may well excel, merely as a
result of being exposed to a classroom atmosphere based on the premise of enriching
provision for all. This approach has three main elements:
- The personalised learning environment
- At Dikshant we have created, what we call as ‘thinking classrooms’. A notice board
dedicated to ‘thinking’ is now part of our classrooms, displaying cartoons; a ‘word
of the day’; news items and interesting websites.
- A shelf of books called the ‘class library’, always accessible to the children,
is another useful feature.
- Classical music / hymns are used as a way of settling children as they enter the
classroom, and are a good listen at the start of the day.
- To begin something new in the curriculum, a ‘starter’ is presented in different
ways according to the age of the children: on the board or on cards, or with very
little ones, discussed verbally. The Starters are designed to inspire thinking by
being challenging, appealing and fun-filled. The teacher then links the starter
themes to curriculum areas for better learning of children.
- The personalised curriculum
Dikshant aims to create a classroom atmosphere based upon discussion, enquiry, critical
thinking and questioning. Teachers share learning objectives with the children,
written as a question (TLP – today’s learning point), and each child has ownership
and is motivated to succeed. At the end of the lesson, children reflect on what
they have done and how easy/difficult it was, adding a TIL (‘today I learned’) at
the end of their work.
- The personalised extra-curriculum
The introduction of philosophy into primary classrooms has generated an immense
range of thought and original ways of looking at the world around us. Children are
placed in hypothetical positions that require moral judgements to be made, problems
to be solved and consequences to be considered. This discussion often spills over
into playtimes and after school – even resurfacing at home so that parents find
themselves drawn into the dilemma. Philosophy is a unique motivator, promoter of
values and self-esteem and is also enormously helpful as a means of developing and
promoting pupils’ speaking and listening skills.