"I have been fortunate enough to participate in the philosophy lessons at Grinling Gibbon’s School for the last 3 years.
Even from the very first session the children grow in confidence when they realise that the primary resource for the group is not regurgitated fact, but rather their own independent opinions. Their delight and absorption in coming to use their analytic skills is obvious, and their quick adaptation to the individuality and originality that real thinking requires is impossible to miss.
It seems strange that our education system requires so little reflection, and in watching the quality of introspection and deliberation that the facilitator elicits from the children so easily, one cannot but feel he is meeting a valuable and overlooked need on their part.
He brings to them a wide range of subjects for attention –classic philosophical issues from epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and philosophy of mind. And all the while training them to attend to the quality of each journey and exploration, instead of this or that particular destination. They learn to relate differently to their thoughts –to value them as things of intrinsic worth, to listen to them and to savour them. They also widen their sense of the scope of thinking: it is notable how comfortable they become with the ambiguous, the open-ended and the unknown.
Children need practice at thinking, just like everything else and the facilitator models for them and leads them into a wide variety of its forms. Quite frankly these sessions are clearly so empowering for them that at least once in every single one I find myself wondering why on earth this type of education is not occurring simultaneously in every school in the country."
Eugene Romain, Primary Teacher, Grinling Gibbons