This weekend (Friday, September 11-Saturday, September 12), the University of Memphis Philosophy Department will be hosting a conference entitled Keeping the Child in Mind: A Conference about Philosophy for Children. (You can read more about the conference and see a schedule of speakers and topics by clicking that link.)
Here's a short description:
Philosophy is often thought to be an arcane subject, suitable only for adults. The idea that children can engage in philosophical reflection conflicts with a long-standing view that children are "emotional," "appetitive," and "irrational." There is a growing consensus among philosophers and educators, however, that children are natural philosophers. Their abundant curiosity, their propensity for asking questions, and their flexible minds, predispose them toward philosophical questions. With adequate encouragement and a student centered curriculum, they can develop the critical thinking skills characteristic of philosophic thought and move from mere consumers of information to reflective and autonomous thinkers.
The goal of Keeping the Child in Mind: A Conference About Philosophy for Children is to stimulate discussion of the theory and practice of Philosophy for Children and, in turn, to develop effective ways to introduce philosophy into pre-college classrooms in Memphis.
The Philosophy Department at the University of Memphis also runs a program called "Philosophical Horizons" that has been introducing philosophy to students in Memphis city schools.
All students are encouraged to attend the conference this weekend.