UMass to Create Center for Philosophy and Children, High School Philosophy Summer Program

The Department of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is creating a Center for Philosophy and Children, and part of its development is the piloting of a summer philosophy program for high school students that will serve as a “bridge-to-college experience” for the participants.

Currently, the department is raising funds for the summer program, called “Question Everything.” Here’s a description from the organizers:

High school students are rarely encouraged to explore philosophical questions… inside the classroom. But we believe that should change! Question Everything is a residential summer philosophy program for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Western MA. The program will debut this summer of 2022 on the theme of “Identity and Diversity”… Participants will spend two weeks on-campus at UMass-Amherst getting a taste of the authentic college experience by living in dorms, eating in our dining halls, and enjoying access to our libraries and recreational facilities. During weekdays, they will explore exciting philosophical issues with their instructors through activities like role-play, research, and debate; on evenings and weekends, they’ll be able to let loose by attending program-funded social events like movies and live performances! Our hope is to foster a college-going mindset in participants and to increase their intellectual curiosity, improve their critical thinking and reasoning abilities, and help them with the college application process.

The program is making an effort to recruit students from lower-income families and racial or ethnic groups that are underrepresented in higher education, and will be providing to every student admitted a full scholarship to cover the cost of participation. They organizers write: “this is where we need your help! Mass Humanities has already awarded us a grant of $15,000 for this summer’s program, but we still need to raise at least another $5,000 more before it runs.” You can learn more about the project and contribute to its funding here.

The Center for Philosophy and Children, co-directed by Julia Jorati and Ned Markosian, will have four main aims:

  • Outreach: The Center will work with the existing Philosophy in Public Schools program (PiPS) to send Five College students, UMass graduate students, and professors into public K–12 schools in Western Massachusetts to do philosophy with children. It will also host the “Question Everything” summer programs.
  • Training: The Center will train K–12 teachers to do philosophy with their students in the classroom. The main forms of training will consist in summer philosophy institutes and professional development offerings.
  • Research: The Center will facilitate research in the field of Philosophy with Children.
  • Equipping: The Center will create curricula for doing philosophy in K–12 classrooms and for philosophy summer programs. It will also create modules for schools interested in starting philosophy programs.

You can learn more about the center here.

(via Katie Wright)

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2 years ago

Is there something like this in Ohio? I would be willing to attend something like this (I’m in 7th grade). It is kind of what I am looking for in a philosophy club. The only resources available to me are not even close to this.

Ali Kaveh
Reply to  Emily
2 years ago

Hi, Emily. Yes, there is! Ohio State’s philosophy department organizes a week-long summer program for high schoolers, called Philosophy and Critical Thinking (PACT), here in Columbus, OH. You can find info about dates, application deadlines, financial aid, and our current plans at

Katie Wright
Katie Wright
Reply to  Emily
2 years ago

Incidentally, Emily, the program at Ohio State was also once directed by one of our co-directors: Julia Jorati. So if you are looking for something like the UMass program, I suspect that you will be very happy with what you find at OSU!