Why Kids Should Study Philosophy
In today’s blog, I will be discussing philosophy, its importance, and why young children should be introduced to philosophy along with the basics of maths, science, and linguistics. Before I present my case, let’s first try to understand what philosophy is.
Understanding of Philosophy
What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the word “philosophy”? For many, philosophy is just a subject that was taught in high school or university where they were made to memorize facts about philosophers (Socrates, Plato, Confucius, et all) and the life of several Roman and Greek emperors. For some, it meant a process of reflection on the deepest concepts and social/political environment.
For me, philosophy is not just a subject or a system of thinking, it is an approach to living well. It taught me how to approach problems, evaluate different scenarios, see arguments from multiple angles, and how to think about complex situations. It allows me to see the world around me, opens up new perspectives, and helps me efficiently manage everyday events in the home, workplace, and my surroundings.
In my journey, I have met with many people who have never thought philosophically about what they want out of life! Their life goals only focused around traditional markers of success – money, house, travel, etc. Their focus has been around handling daily situations and achieving milestones towards being a “successful” person in the eyes of the society.
It is no fault of theirs that they did not manage to think about what they want out of life. The current education system and the fast-paced lifestyle makes it impossible for people to think about the philosophy of life. This is why I firmly believe that people should be introduced to philosophy at an early stage.
Introducing Philosophy in schools
Does your kid ask “why” all the time? Have you heard your friends or family members say that their kids like to ask “why” at every possible moment?
This is because children are natural philosophers. They are new to the surroundings and the world, and they have lots of questions in search of meaning. Yet, how often do we feel irritated or lose temper, and how often do we encourage the questions children ask and take time to discuss with them?
This quest of children to get more understanding of the surroundings around them can be encouraged and channelled in a constructive direction with the study of philosophy. Introducing philosophy at a young age helps kids develop their ability to ask questions and think independently; thus, making them realise that learning is a lifelong journey and is not constrained to the formal education system.
Philosophy encourages “caring” and “creative” thinking skills in children. Teaching philosophy in classrooms can be as simple as having discussions from simple stories or real-life situations about truth, friendship, morality, racism, environmentalism, etc. These discussions can introduce basic philosophical concepts that will help students become autonomous thinkers, and make them question themselves and others in a civilised manner. Thus, encouraging young kids to understand thoughts, feelings and actions of not only themselves but others too.
Several studies have concluded that children who study philosophy are more likely to achieve better academic results with enhanced critical thinking skills and improved public speaking skills as a result of clarity of thoughts. Additionally, children develop self-esteem and demonstrate empathy for others. They are better equipped to deal with feelings like envy, anger, grief, and anxiety. Thus, by integrating basic philosophical concepts into day-to-day life of young kids, we can teach them how to think, instead of just what to think.
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