Apr 21, 2010

Young Philosophers

Children are naturally curious, prone to wondering, easily awed. They're always asking you about stuff. I've seen it and if you have kids you've probably seen it too.

si pilosopo

at si pilosopa

Which is why The Examined Life, Age 8 makes sense to me. It's a New York Times feature on a charter (non-traditional, public) school that engages second-graders in philosophical discourse. In that school, they "use classic children's books to raise philosophical questions, which the young students then dissect with the vigor of the ancient Greeks."

Before you roll your eyes and say how intellectually pretentious... there's no Descarte, syllogism or solipsism involved... just some Shel Silverstein and the pursuit of a few basic truths courtesy of those who have only had about 8 years experience in this world. Interesting read.

Thanks to my friend Raffy for the link. He's a lawyer. Ergo, pilosopo by occupation, and is raising two adorable junior pilosopos with Malou, his lovely and equally pilosopa lawyer better-half.


tashie's mommy said...

Hi Nona. It was nice to finally meet you. This post brings me back over 15 years ago when I was a young student teacher in the US. I had just discovered The Giving Tree and was truly taken with the book and it's message of wonderfully selfless giving - at least as I perceived it. When I read it to my class of five year olds, I was quite surprised by some of their reactions to the story which was along the lines of: "The tree should have said 'no' or 'that's enough' to the boy." Coming from an Asian/Catholic childhood (or was it from a childhood where one was made to be very obedient to adult demands?), it was an eye-opener for me to see young children have such a strong voice, and able to stand up for themselves. We had an interesting kind of philosophical discussion about self-worth in that class brought on by The Giving Tree. I like what the article says about not convincing the children; so long as we really listen to them and respect their ideas, I love that they do come to their own age-appropriate ideas and conclusions. :)

Nona said...

Yes, B! Likewise : )

I'm with Prof. Lipman too. Forget Piaget's theory. We don't have to wait until high school or college to see abstract reasoning. Kids can start rationalizing and questioning assertions as early as they want.

Case in point: you had a 5-year-old student who already knew that... after so much, the tree should have stopped giving to the boy. Sometimes we could learn a thing or two from these little minds. The Giving Tree is a perfect book to use for Grade School Philo 101 no?

Cely said...

Very interesting post, Nona ! I loved reading it! Thank you so much for sharing!

Hmmm I know, my comment sucks compared yours, haha. Sorry!

Nona said...

Don't be silly Cely! Keep your comments coming : )