The Christian Science Monitor

Reading, writing, and…Rousseau? Why Philosophy 101 starts young in France

Cédric Cagnat begins his philosophy class by lighting a white candle in the middle of a circle of a dozen 7- to 10-year-olds here in the Médiathèque Eugène Flachat, a library in the northern Paris suburb of Asnières-sur-Seine.

“What is philosophy?” he asks. The group stares wide-eyed at first, until Mr. Cagnat breaks down the concept into chewable pieces. Philosophy, he explains, is a chance to listen to one another and communicate. And today is unlike a regular day at school, where teachers often talk at students without asking for their input.

“How many times in your day do adults ask you your

For children, a natural fit Empowering children

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor6 min readPolitics
Could A Woman Beat Trump? Democrats Worry – And Hope.
Could Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, or another woman beat President Trump? Many liberals support female candidates but worry men might fare better.
The Christian Science Monitor2 min read
Points Of Progress: A Lake’s Path To Restoration, And More
Conservationists have reclaimed water rights for fish and wildlife in Walker Lake, and museums are repatriating human remains.
The Christian Science Monitor2 min read
What Does It Take To Get Into College? Here’s A Snapshot.
How should college admissions be determined? A recent survey of U.S. admissions officers sheds light on what they say matters most.