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20 Engaging Philosophy Activities For Kids

March 8, 2023 //  by  Brittney Hallmark

Teaching philosophy can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Providing an introduction to philosophy and planning fun activities can be a great way to get students interested in this topic. Some of the following activities can be done independently or in small groups, but all of them prompt learners to use their critical thinking abilities to explore complex ideas. Build their philosophy background with these engaging activities and helpful resources! 

1. Philosopher Research 

Students can learn more about philosophers with this activity. Students can conduct research about specific philosophers and these philosophy teachers. This is a great way to pull in nonfiction and internet resources. They can write what they learn about each person on this graphic organizer.

Learn More: Kids Konnect

2. Analyze Quotes 

This is a helpful resource that can be used to dissect quotes from famous thinkers. Students can respond to these quotes by jotting down their own thoughts, ideas, opinions, and philosophical questions.

3. Comic Strips Philosophy 

Using this comic strip as inspiration, students are prompted to make a pictorial form of abstract philosophy. They can use a quote as a basis for creating a comic strip that would represent a specific thought. 

Learn More: Tumblr

4. Philosophy Boxes

This is a great resource to get students to discuss questions about philosophy or to start building background knowledge on philosophy. This is a pre-designed printable that will spark discussion about philosophers and careful thinking. 

Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers

5. Agree or Disagree Activity 

This activity encourages students to pause and think about why they have a specific opinion of something. Students are given a scenario and are asked if they agree or disagree. This would be great to use if you start a philosophy club! 

6. Picture Card Responses

Printable cards with pictures and questions are a quick and easy resource to use. Elementary students often need the support of a picture clue so use these to inspire discussion and critical thinking. 

Learn More: Nurture Store

7. Be the Philosopher 

This activity is one that elementary school students will love! Let them research a philosopher and dress up as that person. They can pretend to be philosophers and share their life and political philosophies. 

Learn More: Pinterest

8. Word Art 

Students will enjoy the creative aspect of this assignment. Let them brainstorm words about a topic or philosopher. They can then input the words into a website to design a unique artwork. Then, they can use the artwork to spark discussion or write essays. 

9. Crossword Puzzles

Create your own or find a pre-made crossword puzzle about philosophy. You can use this as a review at the end of a unit or as an assessment throughout to see how well students understand the current content. 

Learn More: WordMint

10. Question of the Day 

Posting a question of the day is a good way to get students thinking and prompt them to share their own opinions. This is a good way to encourage written expression if these are done in a journal. 

Learn More: Go Socratic Kids

11. Bucket Fillers 

Bucket filling is the concept of filling another person with positive sentiments and kindness. This is great for getting students to think about others and things beyond themselves. This book would be good to include in building character within your students. Students can write notes to fill others’ buckets. 

Learn More: Walmart

12. Naughty-O-Meter

Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 14.40.21

This is a scenario-based activity that will prompt students to search within to determine if they think something is right or wrong. Looking at a picture-based scenario, students will determine how naughty it is. They can use a rating scale to express how right or wrong things are. 

Learn More: The Philosophy Man

13. Would You Rather Cards

These cards can be used to present two situations to the students. They can decide which one they would rather face. This is a great way to encourage independent thinking and expression, but it’s important to follow up by asking students to explain why they feel the way they do. 

14. Questions and Answers Activity 

Part of being a good thinker is being able to draw conclusions, make inferences, and ask and answer questions. Use pictures or prompts to do this so students will be exposed to a variety of topics and can have the opportunity to respond in a variety of different ways. 

Learn More: Saved You a Spot

15. Great Thinkers Biography Activity 

Biography projects are a great way to help students learn about a specific person and to introduce them to a new topic. Have students complete a biography activity by making a model or creating a presentation of a philosopher. 

16. Respectful Debates

Facilitating a debate may be something better suited for older students, but younger students may enjoy it as well. Pick topics or questions that are age appropriate and have students debate about how they feel and why. 

Learn More: Info Books

17. Philosophers Match Up 

Have students learn more about individual philosophers by reading passages and books about them. Students can review them by matching the description with the picture of the philosopher. 

Learn More: Twinkl

18. Philosophy Flashcards

Philosophy flashcards are a great way to approach complex ideas. Use these cards to ask questions and encourage responses in writing or through discussions. These are great for homeschooling families or to be used in classrooms with small groups. 

19. Use Children’s Books

philosophy activities ks2

Especially with younger students, using picture books to teach about philosophy can be a great way to get them engaged. Let them hear the story and use deductive reasoning to form their own opinions and share their thoughts. You could also have them share their thoughts through writing. 

Learn More: Starts at Eight

20. Class Discussions

Round table open discussions are a great way to promote careful thinking and communication. Facilitate a discussion of ideas about different topics or use different scenarios to express their thoughts and opinions. Give them topics that will evoke critical or intuitive thinking.  

Learn More: Thinking Space

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Philosophy for primary schools – KS2 medium-term plan

David Whitney

PDF of medium-term plan for KS2 philosophy, on 'big questions'. Includes link to videos.

This series of lessons will introduce children to the subject of philosophy and develop their reasoning and questioning skills. It also develops their understanding of ethics, virtues and provides wider SMSC (Social, Moral, Social and Cultural) experiences.

It can work well with any year group from 2 to 6, but especially for lower key stage 2, or as part of an Ancient Greece theme. The lessons work by sharing a specially written story, either by watching the videos on YouTube (link below) or by downloading the story for the teacher to read aloud.

It follows Delphi, a girl in ancient Athens, who becomes interested in philosophy after meeting the famous philosopher Socrates. During the story, there are ‘big questions’ which can be discussed with the children and opportunities for activities to develop specific thinking skills.

The stories enable the teacher to model good ways of expressing ideas, and lead discussions at whatever level of difficulty appropriate for the class.

View all videos at tinyurl.com/tp-Delphi

philosophy activities ks2

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Philosophy in KS2

Philosophy in ks2.

John Semmens -

KS2 RE Leader, Philosophy Advocate and Curriculum Writer.

Welcome to Philosophy in KS2

I am an RE leader and teacher trainer specialising in philosophy at primary school level to support Religious Education as well as add to the deeper thinking present in your curriculum. Find out more about me  here.  

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6 Philosophy Sessions for  years 1-4

6 Philosophy Sessions for years 1-4

Subject: Speaking and listening

Age range: 7-11

Resource type: Lesson (complete)

Ellieteacher's Shop

Last updated

23 November 2014

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This looks really useful and simple to follow yet rich in ideas. I like that there are learning objectives and success criteria. Thank you!

I adapted Lesson 4 for an Easter philosophy session with my Y3/4 class based on the poster 'Last Supper' by Leonardo Da Vinci. If I had a Year 5 or 6 class I would have used 'The Crucifixion' by Salvador Dali. Thanks for the plans - it is hard to get started, but these plans help immensely. Love the 'Thinking Books' idea too.


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Thinking Space

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Philosophy with younger children

Our exercises and enquiries for children in Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One explore philosophical problems through stories, play and practical activities. From problem pets to pleasing all the guests at a birthday party, we have lots of ideas and inspiration for those working with younger children.

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Philosophy with older children

Our stimuli and session plans for children in Key Stage Two and Three introduce  philosophical questions that connect to big ideas in the curriculum, culture, and current affairs. Swapping heads, befriending computers and being eternally happy, we have lots of ideas and inspiration for those working with older children.

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Philosophy with teenagers

Our resources  for young people in Key Stage Four and Further Education explore philosophical issues from the personal to the political. From the ethics of AI, to the epistemological implications of fake news, we have plenty of ideas to help students approach life and learning with criticality and confidence.

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Philosophy with adults

Our materials for adults include resources for professional philosophers on ways to enhance their teaching and workshop plans for participants who are complete novices. Whatever the audience, we devise materials that are interesting and inclusive, which means content-rich and jargon-free.

For more free resources, subscribe to our occasional newsletter.

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Creative Philosophical Enquiry is a FREE practitioner guide and set of resource cards that describes our collaborative experiments with philosophy in schools. Click on the images to download your copy, or search for something specific here.

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Our team have contributed to various books and articles on philosophical enquiry in schools and communities. In 2020, Grace co-edited an international handbook on Community Philosophy which included chapters by our philosophers and partners.    Follow us on social media for our latest publications.

Philosophy for Children

Welcome to northcote’s p4c page.

Elm Wood Primary School - Philosophy for Children

At Northcote Primary, we believe teaching Philosophy for Children helps children to think, communicate and express themselves better. P4C helps to develop higher order thinking skills and helps children learn to co-operate with others.

It promotes a forum for open dialogue in which students exchange and discuss ideas and opinions of their own and others. Pupils are encouraged to ask questions, sift arguments and explore alternative ideas. Above all, we encourage the students to try to understand each other. After the discussion the children and teacher reflect on the quality of the thinking, reasoning and participation. We then suggest how they could improve; either as individuals or as a group (community).

If you have any questions about P4C then ask your class teacher or see Mrs Ashton (the P4C coordinator).

The Northcote Primary P4C policy


Our curriculum

Our Northcote Curriculum is designed with the intent to maximise the potential of all of our pupils; intellectually, socially, morally, emotionally and culturally.  We take every opportunity to encourage a love for learning within all of our pupils, based around a resilience for learning and achieving greatness.  Most importantly we allow our children to learn in a safe and stimulating environment, where their views are valued.

Implementation – P4C is delivered as part as our Social values.

P4C promotes an enquiry based curriculum where pupils are encouraged to ask questions and find the answers through discussion of social values.  Therefore, children develop the ability to recognise differences and explore these constructively. P4C is taught weekly through stand-alone lessons as well as through opportunities for purposeful cross curricular links. For example, in R.E we explore a wide variety of beliefs and cultures. In Shared reading for making right/wrong choices and consequences through stories e.g. Goldilocks and the three bears.  P4C plays a vital part in our mission to promote the development of vocabulary by giving children engaging topics to discuss.

The approach fostered through P4C will help to develop higher levels of self-esteem and intellectual confidence for both KS1 and KS2 children. Pupils learn the skills to be clear in their thinking so that they can explain their ideas, give good reasons for their views and develop their vocabulary. It teaches patience, respect to others and a better understanding of the world around us.

It has been part of the Northcote Curriculum for three years. All teachers have had relevant training and a wealth of experience in delivering the lessons.  We promote a ‘sharing of good practise’ throughout the school with less experienced teachers watching how effective P4C is delivered by more experienced practitioners.  Our school works in collaboration with 6 other local schools; here the subject leaders meet and discuss aspects of the P4C curriculum, sharing good practice and ideas for purposeful teaching and learning.

Children learn through the 10 steps of philosophical enquiry:

  • Getting Set – a group activity
  • Presentation of a Stimulus
  • Private Reflection
  • Shared Reflection
  • Formulation of questions
  • Airing of questions
  • Selection (voting)
  • First Thoughts
  • Building Ideas Together
  • Final Thoughts

A typical philosophy lesson starts with a game and then the children being given a stimulus, such as a picture book, a video or a piece of music or art .  They will create a list of philosophical questions inspired by the stimulus – anything from, ‘Are friends more important than family?’ to, ‘Is it ever okay to steal?’ – and vote on which one to talk about. The class then has an ‘enquiry’ – an open dialogue – around that question.

Our Social Values Curriculum promotes good morals and values.  This is celebrated in assemblies through our Code of Conduct award each week. P4C learning is evidenced through floor books which will feature photographs of the children taking part in the lessons.

  Impact –

Each lesson finishes with a debrief of enquiry.  Here the children decide what has worked well and what could be improved.  This is a fantastic opportunity for the children to self-assess themselves and their new learning and understanding.  Each lesson builds on the previous and children’s skills are improved upon throughout each topic. It is also clear to see the progression of skills throughout the school through the children’s ability to discuss complex questions.  Subject and school leaders monitor the impact of our curriculum provision through completing regular monitoring, that includes listening to the voice of our children.

philosophy activities ks2



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The Philosophy Man

Looking for a P4C stimulus?

Over 17,000 teachers and p4c trainers receive a weekly p4c stimulus through our free bulletin. to get it, add your name and email below..

Please be careful to enter it correctly, especially if a school one with the endless dot this, dot thats!

Thanks for subscribing! Please check your email for further instructions.

Why sign up to receive our bulletin?

By signing up, you'll receive one freshly-written, issue each week containing a topical P4C stimulus to use straight away.

But why should you miss out on previous issues? You'll also receive a carefully selected resource from the 'back-catalogue' each week. We make sure these begin with the 'easy-wins' - simple and easy to deliver ideas designed for teachers and classes new to P4C. Click here to see what's in the first issue.

So two emails per week. Both containing a ready-to-use P4C stimulus. For free! But don't just take our word for it...

What teachers say about our P4C stimulus bulletin...

These resources are absolutely superb. I've been trying/failing to use my imagination to get our girls more interested in this kind of thing. After using various books, an outside speaker and my own imagination I've made a tiny bit of progress, but your exercises captured the girls' imagination much more quickly. Great stuff.

Just wanted to thank you for all the resources you have created/sent to me/posted.  They're great and I'm using them weekly with my class.

Debbie Brooks

Can I start by saying how fantastic I think your ideas are - I really enjoy getting your emails and my Y6 class and I have really enjoyed using many of your stimulating resources. Recently, we spent all afternoon philosophising following your 'should Russia be sent home from the euros?' stimulus - kept my lively class engaged for hours. So huge thanks!

Newlands Primary School

Suddenly remembered that I have an inbox full of your emails and I have found so many good resources for kick starting discussions and debate. I am planning this lessons for year 7 form tutors (mainly PE, Maths and Economics teachers) so it has been really useful to have interesting resources to build on.

Lucy Strike

William ellis school.

There is definitely a buzz with your P4C materials with my current class and colleagues, which is all down to you.

Heather Soar

Handsworth primary school.

Thank you so very much for your wonderful P4C resources. I will prepare the sessions during the summer holidays in case I find another school who would like P4C before then. These first lesson examples you have so kindly shared will be really useful and I just wanted to say a big thank you to you for your generosity of spirit. This will really help me to get going.

Rachel Hutchings

Kent county council.

I wanted to send you a thankyou as i have bee4n completing a research project in school this year and your emails inspired me to create a philosophy SOW for my year 8s.

St Ambrose Barlow School

Andrew lawson.

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your emails, I am finding them to be more useful than the majority of the information that I paid to have access to! I have only just started a P4C group as a volunteer at my children's school, my enthusiasm is by far more dominant than my experience and your emails are a really valuable guide.

Gemma Soper

I just want to thank you for all the P4C resources that you have been emailing me.  Our school uses them regularly as we conduct P4C throughout our primary school from foundation to year 6 once a fortnight. Most of our staff are quite new to P4C so your resources  have been greatly appreciated.

Athersley South Primary School

A note to thank you for the resources you send weekly. A few years ago I did the SAPRE level 1 P4C course and practiced it for a short while. However my interest has been revamped since recieving your weekly resources and I have now begun to practice it again with the year 6 class that I teach once a week. I am now in senior management and am encouraging others to take this up by observing my sessions and passing on your resources to teachers of older pupils in the school.  Your hard work is much appreciated. Many thanks.

Thankyou Jason for all these fabulous resources, as a Headteacher of a small primary you have given me so much to work with.

Christine Kirton


Thank you for the either ories stimulus, it was just what I needed to get my reception class really engaged with philosophy. Our final episode involved arriving back at the port and being offered the opportunity to stay and continue exploring or to go home. They absolutely loved it and we are following it up today.

Clare Walsh

Reception teacher.

Thank you so much for your email and the inspirational attachments! I left the first 'Would You Rather...?' (bear/snake/monkey) for PPA cover for my Y1 class this morning with very clear instructions on how it should be used and returned to find my TA and class incredibly positive about talking about their feelings and able to articulate their thoughts much more clearly!

A major breakthrough in a class that has found the transition to KS1 very hard so far, even with me as an experienced EYFS/KS1 teacher!! They are immediately more confident in talking through their thinking and gave clear and eager explanations all afternoon!

Let's hope they can continue to develop their deeper thinking and reasoning skills and the confidence to participate more!

Tina Hammond

Foundation stage phase leader.

What an incredible resource! Many thanks!

Lisa Chaffer

Many thanks for all of your wonderful resources which you have kindly sent to me over the past 18 months. I have thoroughly appreciated all the help and inspiration you have given me. It has been invaluable.

Peter Reader

Actually, last week i was making some research online about icebreakers and other games to apply with the children, and then i received from you some good examples to try in class. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not!

Marco Antonia

Teacher, portugal, avril hapley, need resources now, eyfs resources (age 3-5), ks1 resources (age 5-7).

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Over 17,000 teachers and P4C trainers receive our weekly free P4C resources bulletin. To get it, add your name and email below.

We won't use your email address for anything other than sending you free, tried-and-tested classroom resources. Please be careful to enter it correctly, especially if a school one with the endless dot this, dot thats!


It has been fascinating to watch the children engage with a range of challenging topics with maturity, enthusiasm and empathy thanks to the facilitation provided by Tom. Their curiosity was inspired by the thought-provoking stimuli in each session and several individuals, who usually find it challenging to share their ideas, came to the fore during the big discussions.

Since commencing P4C, we have noticed a dramatic increase in the children’s ability to discuss concepts with their peers and they have vastly improved in their ability in looking at one another when speaking, in actively listening to one another and in building upon and challenging others’ views and opinions. Before the lessons started, the children were not listening deeply to one another and responding to one another constructively – they had their opinion and that was it.

Mrs. S Johnson and Mr. J Hall

Year 6 Teachers, Amesbury Primary School

I was extremely cynical about P4C prior to today's experience, this is despite my belief that critical thinking is a crucial skill that all children should be taught and/or encouraged to develop. That was until about fifteen minutes into your Year 4 session today. Watching the children transition from anarchic arguments about 'silly things' to thoughtful group discussion on a serious topic (the causes of poverty) was eye opening and quite staggering.

The commentary for the benefit of the staff during the Y4 session was extremely helpful in understanding why you were doing what you were doing.

Combined with the staff training session the day was one of the best CPD experiences I've ever had.

Year 4 teacher

We have been keen to establish P4C for some time in our school, believing it to be a natural part of our three-layered G&T programme.

It was great to work with Jason who consolidated and extended our prior knowledge and really made us believe that not to implement P4C would be a grave mistake on our part. The children loved it and talked about it a lot the following day, asking when we were next going to do philosophy.

It is a testament to Jason's energy and commitment that he managed to enthuse the staff during a twilight session in darkest January and several expressed regret that we hadn't put aside a whole day.

I am keen to get Jason back into school to work with our younger pupils now - he has a natural affinity with the children but still managed to make the adults laugh and wish to get involved.

Year 5 Teacher, Challenge Programme Co-ordinator, R A Butler School

I just wanted to say thank you for the training you did in Lydney last week. It was a fab day and as a result... We are now going to roll out p4c across the school from September! The head has given me responsibility for thinking skills and we are going for the thinking school's accreditation. All very exciting!

After an inspiring and informative Inset Day, led by Tom, all staff were eager to try out P4C strategies and felt strongly about the principles P4C promoted.

P4C has enabled children to voice their opinions in a calm and controlled manner whilst having their views challenged. It has provided them with time to critically think about their own morals, beliefs and thoughts.

We invited Tom back for Interfaith Day! Through P4C, children naturally made comparisons and built upon their RE knowledge. Children thoroughly enjoyed the current and interactive assemblies, pitched appropriately for each Key Stage.

The weekly bulletins inspire and instigate current discussions with the children which can occur in many curriculum areas. The mini resource booklets are great too as they are concise and clear. The resources are practical, effective and require very little preparation- which is great!

Though we have separate P4C sessions, we have easily and seamlessly begun to use it in other curriculum areas.

Just fantastic!

Kayleigh Dell

Greenway Primary School, Herts

I inherited my role as P4C coordinator from my colleague who tasked me with planning a Philosophy Day. I had looked at several workshops and was pleased to stumble across The Philosophy Man website. All the positive testimonials provided by other schools was certainly a winning factor for us. The training and workshops were simply outstanding. All the staff had basic P4C training but did not know how to use it within their classrooms. This then acted as a CPD opportunity for all staff and this was furthered in the staff meeting. There was a buzz during the staff meeting, which for any member of staff attending a staff meeting at the end of a half term, knows this is a rare thing! All the staff said how enthused and excited they felt to get back into their classrooms and try out the methods they had been shown. After the workshops, I interviewed some children about their experience. I deliberately picked children who really struggle with the academic side of school life. One child, who had a workshop on bargaining for his life against a Mayan tribe, said “I loved the P4C workshop. It was so much fun to think of reasons why my life was valuable and the best part was, we didn't have to do any work!”. The children saw the workshops as a chance to express themselves. Thank you so much for inspiring us to continue with the exemplary training you provided and we look forward to working with you in the future!

Sarah Brown

Dulverton Primary School

Superb – the best course of 15 years teaching experience.

Teacher, Frances Bardsley Girls’ School

'Best INSET ever. Fantastically resourced, well paced and great learning.'

'Got us all thinking. Lots of brilliant ideas to use in the classroom. Really interactive.'

'I am going to take up Philosophy! Very thought provoking!'

'Activities are challenging to the thought process. I intend to use all of them in my teaching.'

'Excellent ideas to encourage children to think and debate. Also to question their opinions in a safe environment.'

'Great pace and presentation.'

Teaching Staff

Greenway Primary School

'This was a very active, informative session and has provoked a lot of ideas about how I can implement it in my classroom.'

'Outstanding presentation.'

'Great facilitator with lots of energy!'

'Fab! Lots of hints and tips and great interactive demonstrations. I now feel confident to have a go at implementing in a science lesson.'

'Absolutely excellent, thank you!''Really brilliant - has given me lots of ideas. Am excited anboit applying these in my classroom.'

London 2016 TeachFirst Conference

I just wanted to drop you a message to say thank you so much for such a fab session on Tuesday. I thought it was informative, relevant and full of very useable practical ideas which will definitely be used in my year two classroom. 

Thank you once again.

Sophie Vellacott

Year 2 Teacher

‘An excellent way to develop critical thinking and confidence’

Jill Wright

‘An extremely useful session – children need to be critical thinkers’

Sarah Smith

‘Really thought provoking and interesting’

Hannah Thompson

‘A fabulous day that has inspired me to reflect upon everything;

Sophie Rigby

'Excellent day, very useful, really enjoyed this lesson’Carmaleta Henshaw

Carmaleta Henshaw

‘All very relevant and easy to relate to. A creative way to engage adults and encourage / inspire them to plan differently. Clear progression from Year 1-6’

Sophie Hadwin

‘Great examples given to enable children to become critical thinkers’

Claudia Cotton

Teachers at Whitefield Primary School, Liverpool

Fantastic training where all staff were highly engaged and are now ready to start the P4C strategies at school. Very well organised, fun for all and lots of ideas to use immediately.

Andrea Wadsworth

Crosslee Primary School, Manchester

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for yesterday's Interfaith Day. The children had a wonderful day and the assemblies were fantastic. The children are buzzing with P4C and continuing to talk about the workshops.

Year 1 Teacher

Engaging, pacy, well-presented and (Tom was) knowledgable. Lots of practical ideas and links to use in lessons. Great delivery, kept us engaged all day.

Adam Dlugoszewski, Whitehouse Primary School

Made enjoyable and memorable by actually taking part in the community tasks. Lots of participation which gives clear examples of how to deliver to children. Opportunities to think and plan for our own year groups. Tom delivered the course exceptionally well - clear and fun!

Delphine Gunn, Tickford Park Primary School

Confident, fluid and entertaining. A very interactive, hands-on and practical. I particularly liked planning sessions within the course.

Caroline Prudence, Two Mile Ash School

A good balance between presenting and lots of practical activities which enabled demonstrations of key concepts. I look forward to starting back in school!

Lucy Eldridge, Two Mile Ash School

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