Some fifth grade students in Irvine, California are getting an introduction to philosophy some eight years ahead of normal thanks to a new program developed by Marcello Fiocco, associate professor of philosophy at UC Irvine. The program, called TH!NK, is a four-week, 16-hour course taught by Fiocco and UC Irvine philosophy graduate students at Canyon View Elementary School. The idea is to present philosophy as a practical set of skills, rather than as a subject matter. Here is how Fiocco pitches it:
Philosophy is more like reading or riding a bike than American history or psychology… Philosophy is critical thinking; it’s the skill of examining presuppositions, recognizing connections, seeking justification – all toward the end of providing insight into something of interest. The primary goal of TH!NK is to prepare young minds for future learning and reflective careers.
He and graduate student Kourosh Alizadeh say more about the program in this short video:
You can read more about it here.
For more philosophy programs for children, check out this post (and the comments).
(via Sara Connor)