PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN, or P4C for short, was the title Professor Matthew Lipman gave to his project of using the discipline of philosophy as a resource to help children become more intellectually energetic, curious, critical, creative and reasonable. He conceived the project in the late sixties when he was teaching philosophy at Columbia University, and, today, it is a worldwide educational movement. He decided to devote himself to making the resources of philosophy accessible to children through thoughtful dialogue stimulated by the sharing of literature. He was inspired by writers of dialogues such as Plato and Diderot (and by the Charlie Brown cartoons!) to create philosophical dialogues in which reasoning, questioning and conceptual exploration were revealed to be important in the lives of a group of pupils, friends and teachers. Now Philosophy for Children is practiced in more than thirty countries around the world using a wide variety of materials to instigate questioning and inquiry.
Though the materials vary, the basic model of the community of inquiry and the methods Lipman introduced have remained remarkably robust and popular with teachers and pupils alike.