This page contains short presentations of our main project areas: kindergarten, school (elementary, primary and secondary), museum and other institutions that work with children. Just to give you a general idea of what we do. If you have questions or think we should operate in other areas, please visit the forum and drop us a note.
It was in the kindergartens that we truly embarked on our journeys as child philosophers. In the spring of 1998—with no previous experience of doing philosophy with children—we initiated a small-time research project in two kindergartens in Oslo. For eight weeks, one hour a week, we explored the Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter with 5 and 6 year olds. It was mostly great fun, but very frustrating too at times ...
In the following years we have done work in many kindergartens: giving lectures, arranging courses and seminars, exchanging ideas with children and pre-school teachers. And today—thanks to the new pre-school curriculum (2006) which fully adopts the principle of children's contribution and generally the idea of philosophical dialogue with small children—there is a growing interest for "philosophy in kindergarten".
Also, it should be mentioned that in Norway there is a political aim, shared by most political parties, that every child should go to kindergarten so that it's parents can go to work. So far you don't have to send your child to kindergarten if you don't want to, but every child in the country is supposed have the right and the opportunity. The belief in governmentally approved institutions is still very strong in this country.
New book for pre-schools: Philosophical dialogues in the kindergarten—Taking children's thinking seriously
Small children notoriously ask big questions. So, in a philosophical dialogue we encourage them to think aloud in order to give answers to some of these questions without aiding them too much in the formulation of the answers. In this way we show that we take the children seriously. This attitude complements the new curriculum for pre-schools (2006) where it is said that "philosophical reflection" and "the cooperation of children" are important objectives in Norwegian pre-schools.
Children's wonderment and desire for knowledge are good starting points for the implementation of philosophical dialogues in the kindergarten. But lots of practice, training and good ideas are needed too. This book describes in detail how to prepare and facilitate philosophical dialogues with small children and also presents many philosophical exercises and activities.
(Translated from the Norwegian)
- Table of contents with extracts from the book (Norwegian only)
- A brochure on the book (Norwegian only): Page One | Page Two (how to order)
Øyvind Olsholt, Maaike Lahaise, Ariane Schjelderup
Philosophical dialogues in the kindergarten—Taking children's thinking seriously (Filosofiske samtaler i barnehagen – Å ta barns tenkning på alvor)
Kommuneforlaget, Oslo 2008
175 pages, Paperback
Original illustrations: Maaike Lahaise
Price NOK: kr 298,-
Buy at Kommuneforlaget (the book's publishing company)
Buy at Bokkilden.no
School (elementary, primary and secondary)
Throughout the years we have arranged and participated in a great many seminars for teachers and teacher students at schools, national teacher gatherings, university colleges and universities.
In the school year 2005/2006 we were part of a rather special project under the auspices of The Cultural Rucksack (Den kulturelle skolesekken)—a national scheme for professional art and culture in schools in Norway. The scheme seeks to help school pupils aged 6 to 16 to become acquainted with all kinds of professional art and cultural expressions. Now, the philosopher's mission was to facilitate one philosophical dialogue with every class on grade 5, 6 and 7 (10-12 year olds) in the whole of Østfold county (approx. 10.000 pupils). Lot of work, and lots of fun!
In Norwegian elementary schools there is a voluntary day-care facility for school children aged 6-10 called "SFO" (skolefritidsordning). Now and then we visit these SFOs and do philosophy with the children. This is sometimes very rewarding work since the age group is very interesting; other times it is most challenging work because the children at the SFO don't really expect to have to concentrate and think hard, they only want to play and have fun. Of course, we offer seminars to the teachers who work at the SFO.
Very early in our careers we started to cooperate with art institutions. For example we have done quite comprehensive projects in cooperation with The Museum of Contemporary Art and The Norwegian Telecom Museum. Also we have performed at Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art and at The Children's House in Bergen. Autumn 2005 we carried out an educational project at the The International Museum of Children's Art.
In 2006 we commenced a grand scale project in the Church of Norway named "Wandering through life". Besides Children and Youth Philosophers the project involves three church organisations: Youth Chorister’s Association, The Pilgrim Priests and Liturgical Centre. Together we search for parallels as well as incongruities between philosophical and religious practice—in particular we want to look into the relationship between pilgrimage and philosophical dialogue. Also an important aim of the project is to educate and train church youth leaders enabling them to lead philosophical dialogues with children and youth in the Church of Norway.
Page created: 20.09.07. Page last modified: 11.02.13 01:06.