Manorfield Primary School

Philosophy for Children (P4C) at Manorfield


What is Philosophy for Children? 

P4C is an approach to teaching and learning that was founded by Professor Matthew Lipman in the 1980s.  It is practised in over 60 countries worldwide and promoted in the UK by SAPERE.


In March 2016, Manorfield Primary School became the first school in Tower Hamlets to achieve the SAPERE Gold Award in recognition of its commitment to and outstanding teaching of P4C. We were recently featured on the BBC Series World Hacks: ‘Teaching Kids To Think’.


At Manorfield, children are taught how to create their own philosophical questions from a stimulus such as a story, poem, short film, object or image. These are often, but not always, linked to curriculum topics. Children choose one question that becomes the focus of a philosophical enquiry or dialogue and the teacher, as facilitator, supports the children in their thinking, reasoning and questioning.


At Manorfield, every class participates in philosophical enquiries once a week. We focus on delivering cycles of enquiry which allow children to explore concepts in greater depth and to develop their skills and understanding over time:


  • Key Stage 2: 1 hour long
  • Key Stage 1: 45 minutes – 1 hour
  • Reception: building up to 45 minutes long in the final term
  • Nursery: thinking skills activities are planned throughout the week, so that all children participate on at least a weekly basis. By the end of the Nursery, children will have participated in short small group and whole class P4C sessions.


Why do we do P4C?

As well as the measured impact P4C has on reading, writing and maths, we particularly value Philosophy for Children for its impact on wider outcomes such as confidence, patience and self-esteem. At Manorfield, we help children to develop a repertoire of transferable thinking skills known as the ‘4Cs’ (critical, caring, creative and collaborative thinking) which develop their skills as life-long learners. For a detailed research brochure, click here.



Click on the links below for further P4C information:

Year 6 P4C Project

P4C Training  at Manorfield

P4C Progression of Skill and Stimuli