Big Questions is a prize-winning program helping primary school students to think more effectively by thinking together. Initiated by The Philosophy Club, Big Questions brings collaborative philosophical enquiry to primary schools in Melbourne, Australia. The program develops students’ critical and creative thinking, improves their oral literacy, builds their confidence and ignites their curiosity.

Through a collaborative process, students in Years 4 – 6 encounter stimulating philosophical questions and develop critical and creative thinking skills that will help them in all aspects of their lives. Working together in small groups, they enjoy an open exchange of views as they explore diverse perspectives on age-old questions. Big Questions is truly innovative: it is the only program in Australia that connects school students with highly trained philosophical thinkers.

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If your school would like to participate in the Big Questions program, we invite you to contact us. Your students could take advantage of the cognitive benefits, the personal and social benefits, and the interdisciplinary thinking and communication development that we offer.

While the Big Questions program is designed inclusively to benefit all students in upper primary school, it specifically helps to boost engagement and aspiration for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and it extends gifted and talented students by providing rich and scaffolded learning experiences.

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Skilled mentors, currently studying Philosophy at university level, facilitate the dialogues and encourage the children to express their views, examine their assumptions, evaluate different arguments and make considered judgements.

We launched Big Questions in August 2013 with a three-day immersive experience at Mahogany Rise Primary School, a disadvantaged school in Frankston North (VIC). (Download our press release.) We used original short films by David Urbinder provide an entertaining and accessible springboard into a range of intriguing philosophical ideas. Please contact us if you would like to use these films for educational purposes.

With the support of the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Arts, we continued Big Questions throughout August and September 2014 with an eight-week program of in-school workshops at Heatherhill Primary School, a disadvantaged school in Springvale (VIC). You can read about the program in this Herald-Sun article.

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