Curiosity Academy: inaugural Junior Philosothon

Curiosity Academy: inaugural Junior Philosothon

On Friday 20 September eight students in Years 4 to 7 from the Curiosity Academy joined students from eleven other schools from Bunbury to Margaret River and Pemberton for the inaugural South West Junior Philosothon at Geographe Primary School. Students from Scotch College and St Hilda’s also came down from Perth for this opportunity where students can share their thinking in a stimulating and collaborative way.

A Philosothon is an event that encourages students to reflect deeply on philosophical and ethical issues with the aim to foster critical thinking and communication skills through a ‘Community of Inquiry’ (COI). A COI is not a debate but an open, respectful and encouraging way for students to explore the many possible answers to life’s BIG questions. The focus is to build on students’ ability to ‘think’ - for themselves and with others - about the central issues of life. The emphasis is on children learning to philosophise, that is:-

  • ask appropriate questions
  • articulate problems and issues
  • imagine life’s possibilities - seeing where things lead
  • evaluate the alternatives open to them
  • engage in discussion with one another
  • think collaboratively
  • build on other people’s ideas

Students met in year levels for extended conversations where they could use questioning and reasoning skills and explore their own and other people’s thinking process. Each COI was facilitated by a teacher trained in Philosophy who would keep the conversation going and ensure that each student had the opportunity to express their ideas. At the end of the day, they awarded a special trophy in each year level to a ‘Promising Philosopher’.

Students were encouraged to explore four different philosophical concepts:

  1. What makes you you?
  2. Is it possible to always be a good person?
  3. How do you know if something is real?
  4. Are we truly free?

It was a stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable event that allowed students to explore many new ideas and ways of viewing the world. Special thanks must go to Mrs Alison Freeman, Associate Principal at Geographe Primary who organised and hosted the Philosothon and to APIS (Association for Philosophy in Schools WA) who sponsored the day.

Catherine Christie