In a study of 105 children, all around 10 years old, teachers spent an hour a week for 16 months teaching lessons based on philosophical inquiry.The philosophy-based lessons encouraged a community approach to "inquiry" in the classroom, with children sharing their views on Socratic questions posed by the teacher.I figured if it worked so well for all of those 10 year olds, why not start out by reading my copy of Jean-Paul Satre's Essays in Existentialism to my under-5 set. None of us could get a damn thing out of it. So maybe they're not ten yet, but what's my excuse?
The result? At the end of 16 months Compared with 72 control children, the philosophy children showed significant improvements on tests of their verbal, numerical and spatial abilities.
Maybe I'll take a refresher course and borrow The Tao of Pooh from my local library. I remember my dad and I reading that together so many years ago. Its synopsis is below.
From Powell's Books:
The how of Pooh? The Tao of who? The Tao of Pooh!?
One of the world's great Taoist masters isn't Chinese, or a venerable philosopher, but is in fact none other than A. A. Milne's effortlessly calm, still, reflective bear Winnie-the-Pooh. While Eeyore frets and Piglet hesitates and Rabbit calculates and Owl pontificates, Pooh just is. And that's the clue to the secret wisdom of the Taoists.