Although most students do not encounter philosophy in school until college at the earliest, a growing number of experts believe that children can benefit from early exposure to philosophical ideas. As a subject without “right answers,” philosophy encourages young people to value critical thinking for its own sake. Children as well as adults can develop confidence and find enjoyment in the process of arriving at meaningful ideas independently. Gifted children, in particular, often thrive on the challenge of open-ended inquiry.
Philosophy for Kids: 40 Fun Questions That Help You Wonder About Everything! and Philosophy for Teens: Questioning Life's Big Ideas are helpful guides for educators hoping to launch philosophical discussion in their classrooms.
There are also a number of web resources dedicated to promoting the study of philosophy at the precollege level.
- Hoagies' Gifted lists both books and websites to aid in teaching philosophy to gifted children.
- KidsThinkAboutIt! is a great source for iPad apps, books, sample lesson plans, and teacher packs.
- Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children has podcasts and radio shows directed toward children, in addition to many resources for teachers.