The value of P4C has never been higher.

The last few years have seen a pandemic and several years of government making nothing easier and many things harder for schools.

But the importance of independent thinking, children finding their voice, and listening to each other when they do, will never change. 

You probably know P4C is proven to make an impact in all of these areas, but...

  • You have tried it in the past, but traditional stand-alone sessions won't fit an already crowded curriculum
  • You've had training before but there's been a fair bit of staff turnover
  • Teachers are wary of taking on “yet another thing”, whatever it is!

So how can you support colleagues to make it work within your existing curriculum?

Introducing Philosophy Circles: How to Embed P4C in the Curriculum

Friday 27th October 2017 / Saturday 28th October 2017 , JHB

This full day course with both Jason Buckley will help you grasp the principles of Philosophy Circles, put them into practice, and share them with your colleagues. It includes the option to purchase over 100 school topic session plans and other resources that will allow your school to embed philosophy for all age groups.

Fri 27 Oct 2017 Holy Rosary School (Edenvale, JHB)

To book, email Diane Horsten

Banking Details:

Holy Rosary School

First National Bank

Greenstone Branch

Account No: 546 806 85865

REFERENCE: School Name + JB P4C

Sat 28 Oct 2017 Redhill School (Morningside, JHB)

To book, email Kemble Elliott

Banking Details:

Redhill School Trust

Standard Bank

Account No: 021 595 658

Branch Code: 018 105

REFERENCE: School Name + JB P4C


For one person R1800 (This includes attendance, all materials and catering)

For two people R2800 (A significant saving!)

Add a third, fourth and so on R800 per extra person (Really worth your while!)

Help children find their voices

More and more children arrive at school with poor speaking skills

Parents distracted by social media speak less to their children, and the impact is growing. In one school with many younger parents, children joining reception completely nonverbal rose from five, to half to the class.

If they don't learn to talk confidently to groups in their primary years, it's unlikely they ever will. That impacts their learning, and their economic and social wellbeing. You'll learn how to overcome the different obstacles children have to speaking, and get (almost) every child talking:

  • Playground Confident, Classroom Shy - how to empower children who clam up in the classroom
  • Feed Forward: a simple change to give speech-poor children time to catch up
  • Chance, Chain, Choose - how to reduce inequality in the classroom
  • Separating Thinking and Speaking - how to beat the "I dunno" card
  • Unwrongification - how to free children from the fear of getting it wrong
  • Small Talk Big Talk - how to keep them talking while raising the stakes


Children speak best when they are standing up

They don't go to dinner parties or sit around in the pub. The Get Moving activities explained in this course get children talking from the first minute. Learn how this high-energy approach works, so that you can engage your learners in talk not just in philosophy but across your teaching.

  • How to make thinking a game by making it physical
  • Community-building activities to help your class collaborate
  • How philosophy playfulness leads to "deep fun"
  • How to create shared experiences that stimulate thinking
  • Argumentag and other debate games that build confidence



Y-Questions that stretch but don't scare

Less confident speakers can fear speaking in class in case they get it wrong. That freezes their speaking while more confident children do the talking and speed ahead. The Y-Questions at the heart of Philosophy Circles are difficult to decide and hard to be sure of. This allows less confident learners to feel they won't get it wrong, while giving a greater challenge to able children who are used to getting it right. In the course and supporting resources, you'll learn:

  • Why closed questions can be better than open ones
  • How to find stimuli that encourage thinking, but don't say what to think
  • How Philosophy in Role in your topics engages children's imaginations
  • How children can create their own Y-Questions - and when to use your own
  • How children can tell stories that enrich their thinking and writing

It has been fascinating to watch the children engage with a range of challenging topics with maturity, enthusiasm and empathy thanks to the facilitation provided by Tom. Their curiosity was inspired by the thought-provoking stimuli in each session and several individuals, who usually find it challenging to share their ideas, came to the fore during the big discussions.

Pupils comment that they are thoroughly enjoying P4C and enthusiastically anticipate their lessons with Tom each week; they also site that ‘they enjoy the challenges to their thinking.’

Since commencing P4C, we have noticed a dramatic increase in the children’s ability to discuss concepts with their peers and they have vastly improved in their ability in looking at one another when speaking, in actively listening to one another and in building upon and challenging others’ views and opinions. Before the lessons started, the children were not listening deeply to one another and responding to one another constructively – they had their opinion and that was it. We have also noticed an increase in confidence and concentration.

Initially, the children tended to direct their responses towards the adult. After a couple of weeks however, they were looking at the child they were responding to and dialogue bounced around the room without adult intervention.

The children’s critical reasoning skills were also developed; children were starting to support their views with reasons.

Enquiry based methods are also being instigated by the pupils themselves in other curriculum areas:

  • Who is the villain in Macbeth?
  • Who is responsible for King Duncan’s death?
  • Was the Highwayman guilty of any crime?
  • Is jealousy an acceptable motive for murder?
  • Can murder ever be justified?

As teachers, we are excited about working elements of P4C into our day-to-day classroom practice, particularly when creating and discussing questions during class reading sessions.

Shareen Johnson and Jonathan Hall, Amesbury Primary School

p4c training

What do other teachers say?

Practical for Teachers

How planning less gives more space for children’s independence

With the ever-increasing pressure from above, teachers feel more and more accountable for planning every minute of children’s learning. It creates a dependency  culture, with children always looking to the teacher. Learn how planning less and letting the questions do the work fosters greater independence and faster progress.

  • Scribe, don’t script: how to be at the service of a discussion instead of leading it
  • Sessions that support deeper reflection about seasonal events such as Christmas, harvest and Easter
  • How to create deep, worthwhile discussions within a 30 minute timetable slot
  • Dozens of ready-to-use activities you can adapt for any context
  • “Making it real” time within the course to start applying the principles to your teaching
  • Simple, memorable principles that connect with your values as a teacher


P4C Training


Go into orbit: why your physical position in the classroom is key - and needs to change more than you'd think

We have to be able to command children’s attention in order to teach. But the techniques which establish our presence work against us when we want children to look to one another for answers. Learn some tested techniques for changing your role in the classroom by something as simple as where you sit.

  • How to take a step back and let children develop independence
  • How giving children  “teacher power” improves discussions
  • How to deepen their thinking rather than adding your own
  • Forgetful Storytelling - a joyful route to a collaborating class
  • How to be a philosophical teacher without having studied philosophy

Spreadable to your Whole School

Handouts from training courses often sit in the "INSET graveyard'. It's full of ideas that sounded great on the day but which never quite got passed on to colleagues. Teachers are very busy, and so new initiatives often get buried under the hectic pace of day to day teaching. To avoid that, the course includes attractive minibooks that are written with busy teachers in mind, and a huge range of resources so that there's every support for you and colleagues to start straight away: everything you need is provided.


Minibooks that make the key principles easy to absorb

All the key ideas of Philosophy Circles have been carefully constructed around three principles. These are explained in an A6 minibook that is succinct enough for even a busy teacher to find the time to read.


Get Moving -  high-energy, active techniques to maximise engagement


Y-Questions - how to find questions that will provide real challenge


Take a Back Seat - how to change your role to give children independence


The book has memory aids in the form of stories, summaries and catchily-named activities so that it is easy for colleagues to make it part of their general teaching style.

You’ll also receive copies of the Thinkers’ Games minibook

  • Strategies for making thinking physical to promote engagement
  • Techniques and frames for question creation
  • Over 30 flexible games that can be adapted for any subject matter



Philosophy Circles
Thinkers Games Image 2

Option to Purchase: The Philosophy Circles Resource Pack for R2000

10 copies of each minibook

130 session plans for use within the curriculum

39 'Spot and Stripe' videos for use with young children

Most teachers who discover philosophy for children love the idea, but can’t find an hour for a session that does not connect to a crowded curriculum. So P4C gets squeezed out, and children miss out on the chance to deepen their thinking.

This course includes the option of purchasing a wealth of resources for 30 minute sessions on the most popular school topics. It makes it another, richer way to do what you do already, rather than something else to squeeze in.

Philosophy Circles

What's in the additional session plans?

Over 130 session plans with a consistent, easy to follow format, plus a wealth of supporting stimuli and other resources.

Nim’s Island
The Snail and the Whale
The Lighthouse Keepers’ Lunch
Myths and Monsters
St. George and the Dragon
Harry Potter
Tame and wild animals
Living forever
Human development
Mind and body
Working scientifically
20th century
Ancient Civilisations
Ancient Egyptians
Ancient Greeks
Invaders and Settlers
Stone Age
World War One

Religious Education
Comparative Religions

Art, Design and Technology
Health and Diet


Changes and new beginnings
Mental health
Around the world


Over 120 curriculum based session plans

Self- and peer- assessment tools

Training Videos 

From 'How-to' Guides...
From 'How-to' Guides... enquiry footage with commentary. enquiry footage with commentary.

These resources inspire and instigate current discussions with the children which can occur in many curriculum areas. The mini resource booklets are great too as they are concise and clear. The resources are practical, effective and require very little preparation- which is great!

Though we have separate P4C sessions, we have easily and seamlessly begun to use it in other curriculum areas.

Kayleigh Dell, Greenway Primary School

Tailored resources so philosophy starts in the early years

Much school training is focused on older pupils, with Early Years teachers left to adapt as they can. Our sequence of a year’s worth of professionally filmed “Spot and Stripe” videos provide the perfect introduction to philosophy for younger children, introducing children to discussion and argument through colourful, fun characters and irresistible questions.

What teachers say about our resources...

What’s the difference between Philosophy Circles and “traditional” P4C?

All P4C gets children thinking about challenging questions, and teachers act as facilitators rather than knowledge-givers. Traditional P4C follows a series of stages. Children see or read a stimulus, think about the ideas in it, create questions, evaluate the questions, and then choose one to talk about. In Philosophy Circles, the facilitator usually asks the first question, so the discussion gets started faster. The children’s own questions are still important, but they emerge through discussion. Rather than stages, Philosophy Circles is built around three facilitation principles which run through the whole process. It makes it more fast-paced and versatile for use across the curriculum.

Philosophy Circles


This all sounds great, but what will inspectors say?

With the relentless focus on data, everything schools do has to show an impact on maths and literacy. Fortunately, not only do school inspectors look very favourable on Philosophy for Children, but a recent EEF study demonstrated that it had a positive impact on both maths and literacy scores. We are excited about philosophy for its own sake, but it’s nice to know that it has a benefit for measurable outcomes, and in particular that it helps to diminish the difference between disadvantaged children and their peers.

‘Philosophy for Children is giving pupils the skills they need to present a point of view and become more articulate, thus boosting their confidence

St Matthews School, Westminster

“Impressively, year 2 pupils can identify ethical dilemmas in their fiction books and propose related questions for discussion in philosophy lessons” “Philosophy lessons challenge pupils to respond to probing questions, such as, “Are all humans connected in some way?”

Churchfields Infant School, South Woodford

The school advises and supports other schools in the use of philosophy with children. This exemplary practice is spreading throughout the school and is having a positive impact on pupils ‘communication and thinking skills and this is beginning to be reflected in their achievement. In an excellent philosophy lesson in the nursery children were challenged to think about the characteristics of two imaginary characters and whether they would change depending on their facial expressions or on what they wear. The curriculum is broad and balanced and meets pupils’ needs well, including the excellent promotion of their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and philosophy.

SparHawk Infant and Nursery School, Norfolk

In a year 5 and 6 philosophy lesson, excellent use was made of a recently released Christmas advertisement for a famous store to encourage pupils to identify sophisticated concepts such as reliability, hope, trust and friendliness. This work made a particularly good contribution to developing their social and moral awareness

North Lakes School, Penrith

‘The thought provoking and exciting curriculum the school has developed over the last two years is an outstanding component of the school’s success (this includes) the development of ‘Philosophy for Children’, a powerful tool which both excites the pupils and gives them the confidence to explore stimulating and challenging ideas and concepts. It not only strengthens their academic learning, but also encourages their empathy for others and gives them insights into the adult world

Ropsley Primary School

BONUS: Everything you need to run a successful training

Many teachers who are perfectly happy talking to a class of thirty children are much less comfortable training colleagues. Setting yourself up as “the expert” and sharing what you have only just learnt make you feel something of a fraud.

During the course, we draw attention to our “tricks of the trade” as trainers. You get access to a set of “Spreadability” audio files with advice on how to run an effective training session with colleagues, as well as a Powerpoint and session plan for a staff meeting introducing the key ideas. With the range of resources included, you can equip everyone with full session plans for immediate use!


What are my options?


Full day, half-day or twilight, or online - whatever fits your schedule and budget.

"The Everything Day"

A mix of P4C demonstrations in class, an assembly, parent workshops and twilight INSET

"All the positive testimonials provided by other schools was certainly a winning factor for us. The P4C training and workshops were simply outstanding."

"Several individuals, who usually find it challenging to share their ideas, came to the fore during the big discussions."

"The resources are practical, effective and require very little preparation- which is great!"

"Before working with you, we had been struggling to find stimuli/resources which fit our units."

Also in the series...

The Wild West

The Park
Town and countryside


Who's running your course?

About Jason Buckley

The Founder and Director of The Philosophy Man. A life-long philosopher and former teacher, English, Jason is now an internationally renowned trainer, writer and speaker on P4C, classroom dialogue and stretching the more-able. He is author of three books, with more in the pipeline. Jason is also Director of Studies at GIFT, and also an outdoor education company, Outspark. In his spare time, he's a storyteller and improviser, and all these skills come together in his lively training, with minimum of Death by PowerPoint.

Click here to find out more about Jason Buckley →

About Tom Bigglestone

Tom's courses are incredibly well-received as he continues to work with classes week-in, week-out through his role at the Economist Eductional Foundation, alongside his training role at The Philosophy Man. He has been Head of Department at both primary and secondary level, and in both the maintained and private sector. He has specialised for several years in P4C, and in 2014 was awarded The Walter Hines Page scholarship, for which he spent time in the United States researching assessment of philosophical skills.

Click here to find out more about Tom Bigglestone →

Course information

The course will be held at Laycock PDC, Islington

The venue is 2 minutes walk from Highbury and Islington Underground Station

Click here for map and public transport options

Arrive 9.15 for a 9.32 start, and finishing at 3.57. (Yes, those really are the times!)

Any questions?

If you have any questions, or would like to make a booking in person, please fill in this form. We'll get back to you as quickly as we can.

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