In recent years, philosophy with children is receiving increasing attention. The reasons for this interest are likely to be found in the belief, now more and more popular in the educational area, that the exercise of philosophy can be a useful tool both in promoting the active participation of young people in public debates and in reconsidering the relationship between younger and older generations in contemporary societies. Through philosophy with children, in fact, adults can help children in their process of growth, even in an emotional and relational point of view, providing their knowledge and experiences in a non-prescriptive or authoritarian way. Children, for their part, can get used to judging for themselves, to developing critical thinking skills, to avoiding stereotypes and prejudices, to being tolerant of other people’s opinions and to making their voices heard on issues, such as the ethically relevant ones, from which they are usually excluded.
These assumptions also inspire the many initiatives dedicated by the Fondazione San Carlo in Modena (Italy) to philosophy with children since 2010. The use of the expression “philosophy with children” already implies a precise methodological choice. The objective is not to propose practices that are based on protocols imposed from above or to hold classes on the history of philosophy in kindergartens and primary schools. By contrast, philosophy “with” children should be seen primarily as an occasion for open dialogue, during which the children are the key players of a common reflection and not mere spectators. This is why the Fondazione San Carlo carries out a wide-ranging program on philosophy with children, which includes the following activities:
1. Training courses for teachers and educators, as the projects Piccole ragioni. Filosofia con i bambini and Percorsi, esperienze, strumenti per la pratica educativa. FilosoFare con i bambini.
2. Sessions of philosophy with children at schools in Modena.
3. Publication of teaching handbooks based on empirical experiences (two handbooks have appeared in 2012 and 2015).
4. Public lectures and seminars on the philosophy with children methodology in order to enable the interaction of different perspectives (this is the case of the Stati Generali della filosofia per/con i bambini).
5. Workshops and readings, as FilosoFare, which takes place every year in the libraries in the province of Modena. All these proposals, different in structure and for the public to whom they are addressed, have a common and ambitious goal: empowering citizens by increasing their capacity to look beyond national boundaries and to deal with the difficult challenges of today’s world.
More information on the events on philosophy with children organized by the Fondazione San Carlo are available at