philosophy for children as a form of spiritual education

olivier michaud, maughn rollins gregory


In the last two decades, some authors in the philosophy for children movement have theorized that the community of philosophical inquiry can be a form of spiritual practice, of the care of the self, or a wisdom practice (De Marzio, 2009; Gregory, 2009, 2013, 2014;Gregory & Laverty, 2009). Yet, it is unclear if philosophy for children is, by itself, a form of spiritual education, or if it requires some sorts of modification to be one. And, if it is or can be a form of spiritual education, we can interrogate in what ways and to what extent is it one. It is these questions that this text aims to explore. To do so, we will first clarify the meaning of spiritual education through the presentation of two authors who have explicitly written on that topic. The first is Parker J. Palmer, who has developed a perspective on what it means to reclaim the spiritual roots of education, derived from his study and practice of Quaker spirituality. The second is Pierre Hadot, who has explored how the practice of philosophy in Western antiquity was a form of spiritual exercise. From our presentation of these two authors will emerge a particular perspective of what spiritual education means. In the last section of the text we will use this presentation to examine in what ways philosophy for children can be a form of spiritual education and if requires adaptations to be one.


philosophy for children; spirituality; spiritual experience

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