Welcome to imagineTHIS! I’m Madeleine, a twenty-something educator, activist, poet, and globetrotter. This project began as a Poetry Concentration Capstone during my final undergraduate semester as a Philosophy major. I began with a simple plan: develop a small book of resources for educators to facilitate Philosophy for Children discussions through poetry. I couldn’t keep my ideas in any sort of linear structure, so I used WordPress to set up an interconnected web of discussion on progressive education and philosophical inquiry through poetry. Over the past few years, the site has evolved to include a variety of education resources, mostly geared towards the primary years), which you can access through the “Categories” buttons on the right. I also maintain an informal blog here of my experiences and wonderings through education and world travel, which you can read post by post or browse through the tag cloud (also on right-hand side of each page). While not everything is related to philosophy and poetry, my writing all centres on themes of inquiry, learning, and exploration, mostly with children. Please feel free to join the discussion on any page or post by using the Comments to share your ideas and critiques. [For more on my background in the Philosophy for Children movement and what it is, visit my “What is P4C?” page.  For more on my reasoning on how poetry and philosophy complement each other, visit “Poetry & Philosophy: What’s the Connection?” For an explanation of the site structure, read “How to Use This Resource.”]

My thoughts on education

As a Philosophy for Children educator, I am constantly looking for ways to open critical thinking and ethical debate among young people. Coming from an unschooling and alternative education background, it was always apparent to me that young children are not only capable of but thrive on challenging, philosophical discourse. Kids care passionately about the ethical issues that matter to them; they just need to be offered the encouragement and tools to engage on a practical level. That is where I see a need for P4C and humane education – teaching and learning in line with and to support our ethics.

Imagine if all schools were places for exploration and the realisation of revolutionary ideas. Imagine if kids were taught to critically examine everything they are told, to form their own opinions based on evidence and their own ethics, and to defend their positions with sound logical reasoning. Imagine if kids were empowered to think for themselves, and to challenge authority, cultural norms, and their peers in thoughtful, reasoned ways.

Imagine if all children were challenged to think and act intersectionally, to study how their privileges and challenges combine to affect how they interact with the world and the opportunities that they have. Imagine if all educators challenged themselves to do the same. Imagine if school were, as John Dewey envisioned, a microcosm of a democratic society, empowering children to take charge of their learning community and strengthen their growth mindsets by really examining the underpinnings of their setbacks and figuring out how to change that with which they are unsatisfied.

Imagine if these students went out into the world equipped with the tools and confidence to challenge the injustice of the status quo and actually change society. Imagine if every child knew how much they/she/he mattered. Imagine if this were combined with and nourished by creative expression and the written word. In my classrooms, I assume this vision is the expected reality.

“Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself.” –John Dewey
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