What’s your P4C half-life? (And how to recharge it…)

Half-life (n.): The time take it takes for something to reduce to half of its original state.   
Doctors talk about the half-life of medication – how long it takes for only half of it to remain in our bodies. Or you might hear it in relation to radioactive material decaying away. 

P4C at your school can have a half-life, too.
That is, the amount of time before P4C is happening half as much as it once was. It’s not the case everywhere, but a combination of of covid-disruption, staff turnover, and an increasingly crowded-curriculum makes a drop-off quite likely. Sound familiar?


Wherever you are on that curve, its easy to boost P4C back up to better than it ever was! Here’s four simple ideas: 

1. “Same time next week!”

Propose a specific time each week where every class will do P4C. Teachers concerned about classroom management, or finding good stimuli, will feel supported by the chance to talk to others afterwards and share ideas for next time. Friday morning Philosophy followed by cakes in the staffroom is always a winning combination.  

Show off who’s talking about what through interactive displays (thanks to Jenni Monach from Grenoside Primary School for the example below). Doing P4C weekly is important – if you do it once a fortnight, and then miss a session, that’s a month gone and continuity lost.  

Colleagues stuck for ideas? Encourage them to sign up for this bulletin for fresh stuff every week, and point them to our free resources page to download top picks for each age group.  

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2. Annual Philosophy Days

It’s World Philosophy Day on November 17th – what better day to kick off a yearly tradition? We’re running a free interactive assembly at 9 a.m. GMT that you can join from anywhere – check out next week’s bulletin for how to sign up. We hope to see you then, but your Philosophy Day can take any form (and can be any day!). 

Old Sarum Primary School in Salisbury take each class off timetable for a morning of activities in their classrooms (see one idea below), culminating in a celebration assembly. Laurance Haines School in London host children from surrounding schools for a Philosothon: a series of thinking activities followed by presentations. Tom enjoys his role as guest judge!

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3. Connect with other philosophers

Reach out to a local university and ask if a philosoper will do an online Q&A, or even better, a visit. Or consider connecting with someone who teaches Philosophy at the next level up so learners can get a taster of what they could do in future years.  

Challenge children to come up with not only practical questions about the person’s work, but their best philosophical puzzlers. Can they flummox the philosopher?! 

4. Contact us!

We’ve had lots of schools get in touch to book top-up training during term-time. In most cases, we do a day of workshops followed by INSET in staff-meeting time.  

If you feel your P4C has decayed since it’s heydey, this is the best way to re-enthuse staff and leave them with a wealth of ideas at their fingertips. 

“All the staff had basic P4C training but were struggling to use it within their classrooms.  There was a buzz during the staff meeting, which for anyone who’s attended one at the end of a half term, knows is a rare thing! Aftewards, all my colleagues said how enthused and excited they felt to get back into their classrooms and try out the methods they had been shown. Thank you so much for inspiring us!” – Sarah Brown, Dulverton Primary School

Contact us

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Speaking of other philosophers, tickets are still available for the SAPERE P4C Conference!

On November 19th, SAPERE celebrate 30 years of philosophising with children. Come for a full day of talks, workshops, film-screenings and Q&As with P4C experts. We’re also running a workshop with children on the Philosophy of Farting – not to be missed! In-person and online tickets here. 

Sticky Question of the week 

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Learn more about using Sticky Questions with your class – click here

Never miss a resource! Get these P4C ideas sent straight to your inbox every week for free. Sign up here.

Best wishes, 

Tom and Jason

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