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This is a great article. I’m so encouraged. I’ve always wanted my children to have a solid background in philosophical understanding, as I believe it sets you up to do so much in life (have the ability to think critically, be able to analyze your problems, begin to understand that your thoughts and perceptions are not you… just part of “you,” have moral guidance, understand the importance of character, etc). Now I have access to some great resources on the subject!

One of the elements of public schools that I’ve often bemoaned is the dearth of philosophical education. It seems that, in this day and age of standardized testing, the focus is ever-increasingly on information-regurgitation rather than learning critical thinking skills. I’d always assumed that at some point in my children’s teenage years, I’d go through philosophy, discourse and debate with them, but after reading the New York Times article on philosophical reasoning at charter schools, I have a new appreciation for starting earlier than that… much earlier.The article gives a wonderful overview of the process of teaching philosophy to children. I differ in my perspective of The Giving Tree, however, as I don’t see the tree as representative of nature, but of “mother” and, by extension, God, or the essence of unconditional love.

I can’t wait to read the book, Big Ideas for Little Kids, by Thomas Wartenberg, that’s referenced in the article. It’s exactly in the vein of a number of things I’ve been thinking of and looking for! Too bad there aren’t any customer reviews yet. I usually get a lot out of reading them.

The other two books paired with Wartenberg’s work look very good too: Little Big Minds, by Marietta McCarty and Philosophy for Kids, by David A. White.

Finally, I found these other potential gems: the Teaching Thinking Pocketbook and the Teaching Children Philosophy website has a wealth of information on the subject.

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