melarete and peech: preface to an international philosophy with children collaboration
Keywords:ethics, virtues, education, philosophy with children
In this paper we discuss two research programs – MELARETE (Verona, Italy) and Philosophical Ethics in Early Childhood (PEECh) (State College, Pennsylvania, USA) – and an emerging international research collaboration based on the benefits of practicing philosophy for meaning in early and middle childhood education. We argue for the good of philosophical thinking and its benefits to young students, with a particular focus on ethical development and meaning. We contend that through philosophical pedagogy we can make learning, meaning, vital to students. This is particularly relevant when dealing with questions of ethics and virtue, questions that are close to the lives of children from their earliest years. By discussing these questions and advancing philosophical ethics and virtue programs philosophers can play a central role in the development of responsible and ethical persons in the world. In order to do this, we contend, it is important that philosophy be introduced to children from a young age, in the early stages of schooling. Following a discussion of our respective research and education programs in Italy and USA, we discuss our current and ongoing plans for an international research collaboration on ethics and philosophy with children.