Philosophy in a Pandemic: PhiloQuests featured in the The New York Times
Do we have a responsibility to protect the health of others? What’s the difference between need and want? Could freedom come from not being free? Philosophy for children practitioners from all over the world are creating engaging opportunities for children to think together about the big questions that matter the most to them during these difficult times. We are so humbled to see PhiloQuests, our online platform, featured in The New York Times alongside other inspiring initiatives that support the wonderings of children in creative ways and empowers them to feel more confident about the value of their own ideas!
To read the article: What is Freedom? Teacher Kids Philosophy in a Pandemic
In « Le petit Devoir de philo » this week, creativity comes alive!
What if creativity was a living creature? In “Le petit Devoir de philo” this week, the Chalifour family questions the concept of creativity, thanks to a very special mission typical of the philocreation approach used at the IPCY — where concepts come alive! For Arnaud, 8, the character of creativity would have “a red cape, because creativity is a superpower!” For him, being creative is thinking about "new things. But not a single new thing... a whole lot of new things!” In the eyes of Florence, 8, young people are very imaginative and innovative. But as you get older, creativity becomes scarier... Just consider games to better understand this idea, adds Jeanne, 12. "We realized that games for children are games without rules, where you can do anything you want, while games for adults are more like board games, where you are told what to do." Explore their journey of reflection and creation in the wonderful world of PhiloQuests by reading the article and watching the video in Le Devoir!
To read the article and watch the video: Le super pouvoir de multiplier les idées
To "push your ideas to the limit" and "achieve lots of things," to quote Jeanne, launch into the PhiloQuests adventure: ipcj.umontreal.ca/philoquests
Our training in philosophical practices for youth
Can we learn the art of philosophical facilitation while in isolation? It’s almost like asking… is it possible to learn to swim without getting wet? A course on philosophical facilitation doesn’t exactly lend itself well to an online format! Although it doesn’t take much of a set-up to do collaborative philosophy, a circle of humans seated in close proximity, able to support and exchange with one another is quite necessary! That being said, philosophy for children and teens can adapt to its context—it is in its very nature! Complex situations that demand creative and thoughtful solutions only further enrich this approach and, in turn, redefine the role of philosophy in our societies. The team at the IPCY had the privilege to share this experience of adaptation and re-conception of practices with a group of students, whose commitment and care only motivated us to double our efforts in order to create training programs rich in meaning and nuanced reflections. Join us for the next cycle of training in philosophical practices for youth that will start this fall at Université de Montréal!
To learn more about our training: ipcj.umontreal.ca/training
Le petit Devoir de philo : a series of articles inspired by PhiloQuests
What is a child’s thinking worth? A whole lot, replies Natalie M. Fletcher! "Young people are humans, they are not quasi-humans, or future humans, they are full-fledged humans and they have points of view, perspectives that we need for humanity." To make their very important ideas shine, the daily newspaper Le Devoir will be publishing a very special summer series of articles through which young people from across the province will be invited to participate in philocreation play, supported by our specialists! With that, "Le petit Devoir de philo" will be born, a weekly feature inspired by PhiloQuests! But before embarking on this philosophically creative journey, the first article of the series challenges you to reflect on the power of such an adventure... Wishing you an inspiring read!
To read the article: La valeur unique de la pensée de la jeunesse
Comics that encourage and support thinking
Now that the nice weather has arrived, the Oizofilos of Les Explorateurs magazine share their plans for the summer holidays despite the uncertainty of the deconfinement. Blaise will enjoy the great outdoors at his cottage. Emy will play in the waves at the beach. But Ted will stay home... However, he tells his friends that he will explore a faraway planet! Did Ted lie? Hmm... can we lie without doing it on purpose? Can imagination be a lie? Can you venture into your imagination when you stay home? The IPCY is proud to collaborate with the brilliant teams of the magazines Les Explorateurs and Les Débrouillards to create comic strips every month that encourage and support the thinking of young philosophers!
PhiloQuests in the media
What if we introduced philosophy to youth in confinement? Could philosophy be an impetus for adventure? These are some of the questions addressed by the media reporting on PhiloQuests, the IPCY – Institute of Philosophy, Citizenship and Youth online platform featuring endless possibilities to experience ever exciting and enriching journeys of creative reflection through over a hundred free activities inspired by Brila’s philocreation. "Even if the deconfinement has indeed begun in Quebec, tourism and travel are not restarting any time soon. But who says we can’t go on adventures from the comfort of our homes?” writes Le Devoir. "It would be really beautiful if, amidst all this tragedy, we could learn to value young people’s thoughts and capacities to express themselves during very difficult times,” concludes La Presse.
To read the articles:
La Presse: Et si on initiait les enfants confinés à la philosophie ?
Le Devoir: Gestes de solidarité au quotidien
Launching PhiloQuests... adventures in our mind !
Looking for some brilliant fun to fill your days before school starts up again? Look no further! PhiloQuests are a series of over a hundred free thinking and creative missions, organized in days that are chock-full of all kinds of wonderings. From creativity and help to worry and resilience, they lead you to explore the concepts that are alive in your mind during this time of crisis. By becoming a Philoquester, you will embark on the adventure of asking yourself big questions to better understand the world, all the while playing with ideas... without leaving the comfort of your own home!
Why not ponder the value of solitude by making a refuge out of blankets? Or consider the implications of a world without worry by inventing a vacuum cleaner that sucks up all troubles? Unless, of course, you would rather interview strange objects to reveal the hidden side of normal? You’ll also find activities to do with your whole family and a guide for the adults in your life who would like to challenge themselves too. No experience required... just your imagination, lots of good reasons and basic arts and crafts materials.
The IPCY - Institute of Philosophy, Citizenship and Youth is very proud and happy to present this array of philosophical missions for youth of all ages, in collaboration with its community partners, including the magazines Les Débrouillards and Les Explorateurs, Radio-Canada, as well as Brila, which shared a significant part the program presented and inspired the creation of new activities thanks to its philocreation approach. We are so thankful for the creators Natalie M. Fletcher, Léa Cossette Brillant and Baptiste Roucau! Just because we're in isolation, it doesn't mean we can't have adventures in our mind... PhiloQuests, embark on the adventure!
Curating a virtual space to dialogue together in isolation
Does philosophical dialogue stop when we are isolated? Is it possible to share ideas in the absence of our dialoguing bodies? With a little creativity and the commitment of people who are eager to think together despite the distance, anything is possible! The situation we are currently experiencing provokes unique experiences and destabilizing questions. What is considered normal? Should we risk lives to have our freedom? Is friendship more important than security? Does benevolence justify control? Brila's young philosophers who formulated these questions, following the collaborative reading of a philosophical fiction related to the current crisis, chose to address that last question in a virtual but very real dialogue! According to them, to justify control we must have the knowledge to assess the situation according to different criteria, including the severity and proximity of the problem, but “it also depends on how much we care, for example global warming is very important for young people, but they don’t have the power to make decisions or take actions for the common good, while the coronavirus also affects older people in power.” During the dialogue, the co-inquirers challenged space-time to unite their perspectives and find possible answers to the questions that inhabit them. Thank you all for your brilliant and courageous ideas!
The Ideation 2020 Conference is Postponed
More than ever, the global pandemic reminds us of our interconnection and the importance of caring for each other. In the face of the unique situation we are experiencing, we must adapt in order to protect our local and international communities from the spread of the virus. It is with deep regret that we must announce that the conference "Ideation 2020: Creative Engagement in Philosophy for Children" and its related activities, as part of the biannual NAACI event, will not take place this June as planned and must be postponed until next year. We are very grateful for the commitment and contributions of everyone who participated in the conference presentation offerings and organization. We are very enthusiastic to continue working alongside you in a context that demands creative solutions that are both bold and thoughtful. Thank you for your resilience and your attention during this difficult and unprecedented period. Take good care of yourselves!
Reform of the Ethics and Religious Culture Program
Following the announcement of the in-depth reform of the Ethics and Religious Culture program, the IPCY's Research Coordinator Natalie M. Fletcher joined a group of experts in philosophy for children and education to coauthor the dissertation "Towards an engaged citizenship through the practice of philosophical dialogue". For them, it is a perfect opportunity to rethink the formation of young people as emerging citizens. "We believe that the time has come to officially integrate philosophy for children and adolescents (PPEA) into the school curriculum of the Quebec student population." We can't wait to see what the next part is, as we will be meeting with the Ministry of Education very soon!
The bursary program for the Brila philocreation camps
Brila's philocreation camps offer children reflexive and creative challenges that go off the beaten track ! We believe that no child should miss these imaginative overflows for financial reasons, and that is why we applaud the educational non-profit organization for offering bursaries to help families in need and ensure that a great diversity of participants can dialogue and create together. To benefit from the Brila bursary program, you can apply online following the link bellow. Bursary applications are assessed in the order they are received, so don’t wait to apply!
Bursary application: Online form
Registration for the Brila philocreation camps is opening on February 7
The IPCY is proud to support innovative and engaging projects which aim at the development of responsible citizenship among young people. Registration for the Brila philocreation camps is opening today, February 7! The camps are unique laboratories of imaginative thinking for curious and creative young people! Through multidimensional projects inspired by big questions that affect them the most, they collaborate with other young people who share their energy, their vision and their artistic talents, while helping each other to become leaders and models for their communities!
Registration: Brila Philocreation Camp
Brila's young philosophers dialogue for the IPCY new training videos
Do rules limit freedom? Does knowledge make you happy? Brila’s young philosophers dialogued in front of the cameras about questions raised by students at the University of Montreal. Doing so, they participated in the preparation of videos for the new training in philosophical facilitation of the IPCY. The best way to learn to facilitate is to be inspired by children who have been philosophizing for a long time!
Series of interviews about the podcast "Les jeunes sages"
What if a podcast could challenge our conception of childhood? The vivacity of mind of Brila's young philosophers provokes adults' perceptions: "it is the kind of project that reminds us how much children and teens are full of wisdom", "young people who are very idealistic, who have more courage in their convictions than adults, and yet who are so humble". Director Geneviève Brault and philosopher Natalie M. Fletcher of the IPCY discuss with different radio contributors about the podcast "Les jeunes sages" in this series of interviews. All episodes of the first season of the podcast are now available online on Radio-Canada website and apps—how to nourish your minds and not just your bellies during the holiday season! "Listening to young people thinking about important society issues, it's delicious!"
The IPCY support the philosophical training of the teachers at Ecolint
Can we change our identity? Can we tell a story to ourselves? How do we construct our character? What does it mean to be good at something? Brila in partnership with the IPCY led intermediate to advanced trainings at the International School of Geneva with teachers from preschool through secondary school. During the trainings focused on philosophical quality, we had the chance to facilitate amazing exchanges with devoted and inspired teachers who are committed to helping youth become autonomous thinkers. It is such an honour to transform the long-term relationship between Brila and the Ecolint into one of the IPCY’s international partnerships, offering support in professional training in philosophical facilitation and initiating longitudinal studies on the effects of Philosophy for Children. We are so excited to see you again in the winter!
The IPCY at the International Forum on New Philosophical Practices
The IPCY is creating new international connections, participating with Brila in the International Forum on New Philosophical Practices in Geneva, co-organized by the UNESCO Chair of "Philosophy with Children Practices" and the association ProPhilo. A very warm thank you to Edwige Chirouter for the invitation and the time allotted to our workshop, during which we presented #philocreation through an immersive experience of philosophical games, inventive dialogues and creative missions. It was a real pleasure to meet new people and to reconnect with our esteemed colleagues, whom we are looking forward to hosting at our international conference Ideation next year!
The intensive and immersive course in Philosophy for Children
What does it mean to be yourself? What is the value of silence? Is it possible to waste time? Can we devote ourselves to what we hate? It is around these questions, and many more, that a wonderful community of philosophical inquiry was formed during two intensive weekends bringing together a beautiful diversity of humans, with varied backgrounds and experiences. Dialoguing together, they familiarized themselves with the various techniques of Philosophy for Children (P4C), questioning phenomenological experiences, social justice, education, childhood, creative expression... This new intensive and immersive formula of the course “PHI 2450 Principles and Methods in Philosophy for Children” led them to discover the principles and practices of the classical dialogic pedagogy in P4C, to then venture into new innovative approaches, including Brila's philocreation—the participants had the chance to philosophize with young philosophers of the educational charity, in addition to creating their very own philozine and plays! Thank you all for playing the game of P4C!
A podcast featuring young philosophers
Are we responsible for nature? Can everything be said? Is it effective to punish in the name of learning? Can competition be positive for relationships? These are some of the questions you will navigate listening of the podcast "Les jeunes sages". Each episode offers a lively and engaging encounter with Brila's philosophers interacting with a Québec personality, including First Nations activist and co-founder of Idle No More Quebec Melissa Mollen Dupuis, singer-songwriter Safia Nolin, actress Guylaine Tremblay and speed skater Marianne St-Gelais. Together, they prove that philosophy is not a question of age! A new episode is published every Wednesday on the Radio-Canada website and the Radio-Canada app OHdio. Happy listening!
A second course in Philosophy for Children at UdeM
How to support the emergence of responsible citizenship in young people? What are the challenges of new philosophical practices involving young people? What is the role of the adult in the community of philosophical inquiry? Following the success of the two first editions of the introductory course PHI 2450 – Principles and methods in Philosophy for Children (P4C), during which students create their own community of philosophical inquiry to explore the philosophical as well as pedagogical developments of this eclectic movement, the IPCY is pleased to announce a second P4C course that will focus on the art of facilitation! The course PHI3450 - Philosophical Facilitation for Youth will take the form of intensive training workshops and supervised practices in philosophical facilitation. Students will familiarise themselves with the dispositions necessary to the animation of collaborative dialogues inspired by the authentic questioning of children and adolescents, in order to promote the use of the thinking tools and encourage the development of reflective dispositions, as well as to plan and put into practice philosophical workshops inspired by the traditional P4C curriculum and emerging dialogical practices!
Launching the call for proposals for the 2020 Ideation Conference
The IPCY and Brila are happy to launch a the call for proposals for the North American Association for the Community of Inquiry (NAACI) 2020 Conference ! The international conference “Ideation: Creative engagement in philosophy for children” (P4C) aims to immerse participants in a vibrant atmosphere of co-creation around questions pertaining to the place of creativity in philosophical inquiry with young people and the adults by their side. The conference that will take place in Montréal June 26-27-28, 2020 seeks to be diverse and inclusive, and thus encourages submissions from a wide variety of sources and backgrounds. Researchers, practitioners, educators, teachers, students and youth workers involved in P4C practices are invited to submit proposals for research, workshop or poster presentations addressing topics of creativity, creative thinking, creative agency or creative problem-solving in varied contexts, such as innovative classroom and extra-curricular models, community-driven citizenship and social justice initiatives, art and culture practices, social entrepreneurship and sustainable businesses. The deadline for proposal submissions is December 9, 2019. Looking forward to hearing from you!
The IPCY strike for climate with young philosophers
What is activism? Can a single person change the world? What does responsible citizenship imply? The IPCY had the honour of walking alongside Brila’s young philosophers aged 7 to 17 who participated in the recording of a podcast during the Montreal Climate Strike on September 27th. They joined hundreds of thousands of protesters marching their placards, demanding government action to combat climate change. Dialoguing together, they shared their questions, impressions and positions on this collective movement inquiring about young people's power of action, inspired by the youth-led mobilization initiated by young environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
A plea for philosophy from elementary school
Why not start practicing philosophy in elementary school? While the Quebec Minister of Education plans to revise the Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) program, Mathieu Gagnon and Michel Sasseville propose to integrate philosophy as part of the curriculum, supported by numerous professors, teachers, authors, philosophers, theoreticians and practitioners in Philosophy for Children (P4C) including Dr. Natalie M. Fletcher. In the article published in Le Devoir they write: "For almost 40 years, Quebec has been considered a leader in the field of P4C. So, why not take advantage of the expertise developed here for many years to rethink the ERC program, position Quebec on the international scene and even make a clear statement about our conception of students as open-minded citizens, respectful of differences, capable of self-determination and able to think for and by themselves with others?"
Concepts come to life at Brila's philocreation camp
The IPCY is proud to support Brila’s philocreation camp! “Do we understand our lives better with concepts?” This summer, a group of brilliant young philosophers aged 5 through 12 immersed themselves in ten days of reflexive and creative outbursts during the camp! Partnering with the amazing Maison Théâtre youth theatre they explored the many facets of living art through their very own conceptual playground, creating and playing with conceptual creatures that led them to recognize the nuances and ambiguities hidden in concepts and understand their importance in our world. Working alongside creative experts who gave them new tools and perspectives for their collective project-making, they brought concepts to life in a great conceptual masquerade! “It’s like taking our thoughts and giving them colour and personality. We often have these ideas, but they can be very vague and something that can disappear off the top of our head! When we make them characters, it makes it more real and takes the ideas in our head and gives them life!”
The IPCY and Brila participated in the Biennial International ICPIC Conference
The IPCY travelled to the 19th edition of the ICPIC – International Council of Philosophical Inquiry with Children alongside Brila! The event hosted by Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios in Bogotà brought together theorists and practitioners engaged in philosophy for and with children (P4wC) to examine the P4wC program in relation to the ideal of the citizen-agent offering a unique opportunity for dialogue and idea sharing with remarkable individuals and organizations engaging young people in philosophical inquiry all around the world!
Philocreation workshop for teens
What is it to live life to the fullest? Is life better with a grain of negativity? What is femininity? Do relationships eat away your identity? Do your origins chase you wherever you go? These are just some of the mind-boggling questions that captured a group of teenagers who invested the University of Montreal campus and immersed themselves in two weeks of philocreation, building an emergent curriculum, thinking and creating together toward the co-construction of a philosophical novel. They learned the fine art of bookbinding to create philozines able to carry their generative questions and courageous positions. They worked alongside creative experts who sparked new perspectives and art forms to enrich their collective storytelling. They constructed metaphors to enlighten complex experiences and transposed the scenes from their imagination. They wondered about the concepts that lurk in the shadows and hiked under the sun to enflame their inspiration. They wrote manifestos of adolescence and unschooling curriculums. They created a whole universe for a novel, impacting along the way our own world with their bold and thoughtful ideas!
Ideation : Creative engagement in philosophy for children
How might creative experiences enable, deepen and motivate Community of Inquiry (COI) dialogues? Are aesthetic, embodied, affective experiences important in a philosophical dialogue? Could creativity harm or hinder a philosophical practice? We are very proud to announce that Brila and the IPCY will be co-hosting the North American Association for the Community of Inquiry (NAACI) 2020 Conference! The international conference “Ideation: Creative engagement in philosophy for children” (P4C) aims to immerse participants in a vibrant atmosphere of co-creation around questions pertaining to the place of creativity in philosophical inquiry with young people and the adults by their side. In response to a world context with increasing demands for creative solutions that are both bold and thoughtful, this bilingual event will deepen our collective thinking around theoretical, empirical and practice-based approaches in P4C! In addition to offering a selection of research presentations—including individual, panel, workshop and poster sessions—and opportunities for COI dialogues, the conference itself will model various types of creative agency with participants of all ages to provoke and push our collective wondering around these important themes. The conference will be preceded by a three-day pre-conference philocreation workshop as well as a one-day tourist adventure in wonderful Montreal. This creative outburst will take place at the University of Montreal June 22-28, 2020—save the dates!
Brila's young philosophers reflect on the power of philosophy
Once again, the IPCY welcomed to the University of Montreal campus the youth board of Brila. The young philosophers participated in an afternoon of dialogues and creative projects trying to make sense of what philosophy really is, and along the way deconstructing and redefining conceptions of both childhood and philosophy. During the workshop, the young thinkers shared their own experiences and thoughts about philosophical practice in an interview for a book that will soon be published. The editors wanted to include their very special perspectives because they are so unique—for some having spent more than half of their lives doing philosophy! Surely, the interviews turned into passionate dialogues about the importance of a regular philosophical practice, the right of children to be taken seriously, the limitations of the current school system and the transformative power of philosophy!
Destabilizing stereotyped concepts in childhood
Can Philosophy for Children aid prevention of violent extremism? "Education aimed at violence prevention tends to affirm that thoughtless generalizations—especially prejudiced and discriminatory ones—about individuals and groups can lead to extremist thinking and harmful action. Yet, can the same be said of the stereotyping of concepts?" In her article Destabilizing stereotyped concepts in childhood: Some opportunities and risks of philosophy for children as an aid to PVE published in the latest issue of Prospects—a journal edited by UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education—Dr. Natalie M. Fletcher explores how the stereotyping of concepts risks interfering with children’s reasoning, resulting in epistemic rigidity and reduced opportunities to practice responsible autonomy, and offers promising avenues for P4C "with an aim to cultivate flexible thinking in children and thereby support their evolving competence as emerging agents”!
The IPCY and Brila at the International School of Geneva
The year four classes at International School of Geneva participated in BrilaGlobo bilingual philocreation programming, supported by the IPCY, during which concepts even spilled out of school walls to be invited over for dinner with the family! The young philosophers participated in engaging philosophical dialogues and thoughtful creative projects, culminating in a great exhibition during which they were able to share their important ideas with their families and friends. The IPCY also provided training and coaching to the teachers of the primary, middle and secondary schools committed to integrate the community of philosophical inquiry into its pedagogical practices!
The introductory course in Philosophy for Children offered again in the fall
Do we stop being a child? Does knowledge make us happy? Can we rely on emotion to justify rules? Throughout the sessions, the students of the PHI 2450 – Principles and methods in Philosophy for Children course were able to explore the foundations of the eclectic movement and follow its multiple evolutions by questioning reasoned argumentation, phenomenological experience, ethics, social justice, affective education, aesthetics, creative expression… Every class the group embarked on a collaborative philosophical inquiry following the different styles of P4C in order to cultivate multidimensional thinking and thus be able to take a critical, creative and attentive glance at the different themes of the course. We are very happy to announce that the course will be offered again in the fall!
How to raise youth's awareness of socio-scientific controversies ?
The IPCY participated in the event “Multiple perspectives on education for socio-scientific controversies,” organized by the CIRST - Centre for Interuniversity Research on Science and Technology and the CREAS - Centre for Research on Teaching and Learning in the Sciences. In collaboration with the Montreal Science Centre, the IPCY modelled an example of teaching socio-scientific controversies with an aim to foster critical thinking and argument co-construction with adolescents through innovative collaborative dialogues.
Why discuss difficult issues with youth ?
The IPCY participated in the Philosophy for Children (P4C) symposium of the Committee for Precollege Instruction in Philosophy at the American Philosophical Association conference in Vancouver. The symposium united international theorists and practitioners of P4C in order to promote collaborative thinking in the field. The IPCY’s presentation focused on the challenges of discussing difficult issues with youth—how to identify suitable times and how to successfully facilitate.
Young philosophers on UdeM's campus
The IPCY welcomed to the University of Montreal campus the youth board of Brila Youth Projects, an educational charity that fosters metacognitive thinking and creativity in youth through philosophical dialogues and creative projects. These young philosophers playfully engaged with the key concepts of philosophy and discussed questions explored by students of the PHI 2450 – Principles and methods in Philosophy for Children course, demonstrating that philosophy is suitable for people of all ages!
The first course in Philosophy for Children at UdeM
The IPCY is pleased to announce the first course in Philosophy for Children (P4C) at the University of Montréal. The course PHI 2450 – Principles and methods in Philosophy for Children explores both the philosophical and pedagogical developments of P4C by analyzing its foundations—its history, principles and pedagogical methods—and by giving students the opportunity to experience this practice together through the Community of Philosophical Inquiry (CPI) method.