The Effects of Participation in a P4C Program on Australian Elementary School Students

  • Chadi Youssef
  • Marilyn Campbell
  • Donna Tangen


Both academic attainment and student well-being are high priorities for schooling in Australia. While many programs are implemented in schools to promote either academic success or mental well-being, one program, the Philosophy for Children (P4C) program claims to do both. This program is being widely implemented in Australian elementary schools. A quasi-experimental study therefore explored the effects of participation in a philosophical community of inquiry (COI), a feature of the broader P4C program on Year 6 students’ reading comprehension, interest in math, self-esteem, pro-social behavior and emotional well-being. It was found that reading comprehension increased. Interest in math and self-esteem decreased and there was no change in pro-social behavior and emotional well-being for children who participated in the COI program compared to students who did not participate. Implications for practice are discussed.