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Center for Human Rights - Celebrating 15 Years! Students • Partners • Research

Amy Reed-Sandoval Explores Philosophy with Youth in Oaxaca

September 4, 2013

For the past two summers, Amy Reed-Sandoval has been working with the Centro de Esperanza Infantil in Oaxaca, México, developing a Philosophy For Children (P4C) program for 10-18 year old street youth, based in part on the work of the Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children at the University of Washington. The program encourages critical thinking and inquiry, and the thoughtful articulation of ideas. As Amy explained in her application for the Caldwell award:

“Philosophy for Children classes emphasize actively doing philosophy as part of a community of inquiry. A P4C instructor might commence a philosophy session by reading a children’s book containing a philosophical puzzle, and then open the floor to a student-led philosophical dialogue that identifies and explores that puzzle. Through P4C, students learn to think critically for themselves and defend their philosophical perspectives with reasons and logic. Importantly, students also learn to listen to and respectfully engage the views of others. Many philosophers of education have thus stressed the importance of providing philosophical training for young people as part of a flourishing democracy in which citizens are empowered to freely share and debate their unique perspectives on a range of important issues.”

This summer, with the support of the Jen Caldwell Award, Amy travelled to Oaxaca to further develop the P4C program, introducing some new games and workshops, as well as creating a small library so that the students can continue to explore philosophical questions and approaches all throughout the year, since apparently she’s been hearing from students who’ve taken her summer sessions in past years that they’re eager to keep doing philosophy even when she’s not around!

This past summer’s intensive course lasted for two weeks, and ended with a day of philosophical “human rights speeches” prepared by the students over the course of their Philosophy for Children classes. Thanks to this scholarship Amy was also able to contribute to a documentary about the program, which can be accessed here. The documentary features clips of some of Amy’s sessions on the Philosophy of Human Rights, and provides helpful information about the important connections between Philosophy for Children and human rights education.

Amy is also featured in the September 2013 edition of the University of Washington College of Arts and Sciences Perspectives newsletter, in an article, titled “Encouraging Young Philosophers in Oaxaca.”