Being well, being in the community, having voice and agency through practical philosophy

Cassidy, Claire; Beaton, Mhairi C. and Burke, Anne and Keskitalo, Pigga and Turunen, Tuija, eds. (2024) Being well, being in the community, having voice and agency through practical philosophy. In: Children's Voice and Agency in Diverse Settings. Routledge, London, pp. 8-23. ISBN 9781003360995

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Considering young children as part of the wider community is challenging. At one and the same time, they are a part of community and apart from community. The school is perhaps the main community site for children. Certainly, one purpose of schooling is preparation or socialisation. The issue in seeing school as a place of preparation, even if it is for a utopian democracy, is that it situates children in terms of the future adult they will become. If we are to accept that children have a place in society, we need to consider what that place is, and this must acknowledge their agency. In so doing, children would be considered actors within the community. Community, as it may currently be considered, could be broadened to take account of children and their lives qua children and not as their future adult selves. In thinking of community in this way, children – and others – are encouraged to think of themselves in-relation to others and the world they inhabit. This, then, requires an approach that supports individuals to think beyond themselves, to think in terms of community, and to see themselves as part of a wider whole. One approach that may engender such a way of being is practical philosophy. Practical philosophy with children, therefore, is what will be considered in this chapter with a view to proposing it as one way to induct children into notions of community while also providing them with space to practise their voices with a view to being well as participants of the wider community, and where they are epistemically recognised within that community.