We are a group of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty at University of North Texas who are reaching out to our local community through collaboration and development of an interdsciplinary body of environmental philosophically minded activities. We draw from the Philosophy for Children movement and add our own specialty of environmental philosophy, to create unique experimental opportunities for students to do philosophy inside and outside. We also draw from p4c Hawaii's approaches, as we incorporate a strong focus on intellectual safety when we facilitate philosophical dialogues in local classrooms with children.
What is philosophy for/with children?
Philosophy for Children (commonly abbreviated P4C) is a program intially developed by Matthew Lipman and Ann Margaret Sharp in the 1970s in order to foster critical, creative, and caring thinking skills in young students. The P4C movement has spread around the world, and its local practioners and researchers have developed their own ways of facilitaion and interpretation, while respecting the original work by Lipman and Sharp. The main practice that links most P4C practitioners is the concept of "communities of inquiry", in which, students and facilitators together use a unique style of dialogue to create questions and reflect together about some kind of intellectual stimulus (a piece of artwork, a text, or a thought experiment). The approach has been highly developed and well-received in many places. Philosophy with Children (PWC) is a response to the development of P4C, and implies that we as facilitators do not simply provide philosophy for children, but participate together with children.
Rika Tsuji is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at UNT, and her research focuses on the theoretical and practical development of environmental education programs incorporating philosophical inquiries. She was intern at Teton Science Schools and Biocitizen School, where she was exposed to placed-based education. She is currently co-teaching P4C classes at the Koan School, where she facilitates philosophical dialogues on things that matter with children.
Benn is a PhD student, studying the connections between environmental philosophy, especially ecofeminism, and various systems of domination. He is currently co-teaching P4C classes at the Koan School, where he helps lead courses of students from 4-9 years of age, as well as high school students. He is also experimenting with using the methodology of P4C in the undergraduate classroom.
Dr. Adam Briggle
Adam is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Philosophy and Religion Department at UNT. He helps to foster the UNT P4C program and occasionally gets a chance to philosophize with local school children.
Dr. Lewis Tyson
Dr. Tyson E. Lewis is an associate professor of art education at UNT. Previously he was an assistant professor in Educational Foundations at Montclair State University, New Jersey, which houses the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC). As a scholar, he is interested in developing new approaches to understanding the role of the teacher in community of inquiry approaches to philosophy for children. As a teacher, he continues to experiment with dialogic classrooms centered on art, aesthetic philosophy, and educational philosophy.
Travis is a PhD student in philosophy interested in philosophies of education especially as they pertain to conservation, sustainability, and justice. Currently, Travis is co-teaching P4C at the Koan School while working to broaden the scope of P4C in North Texas. Travis seeks to incorporate direct encounters with the natural world as stimuli for students' creative, critical, caring questioning at the core of P4C.
Dr. Tran Nguyen Templeton
Dr. Tran Nguyen Templeton is an assistant professor of early childhood studies in the College of Education at UNT. Her research focuses on young children's co-constructions of identity through processes of image-making (photographs, in particular). Broadly, she's interested in the environments and conditions that make children's critical thought possible.
Dr. Chris Moffett
Chris Moffett is Visiting Assistant Professor in Art Education at UNT. Current projects include work on play based early-childhood learning in Anji, China, ecology in the art classroom, and material inquiry. He is a Founding Member of the artist collective ARE, exploring the intersections among movement, sensory exercises and aesthetic practices.