philosophy for children Hawai‘i College of Education Endorsed Certificate

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Founded by Matthew Lipman in 1969, Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a global education movement. A Columbia University philosophy professor at the time, Lipman was deeply disenchanted with the traditional US school system. He believed that children did not think as well as they could or should for life in a democratic society, and he was concerned that schools actually encouraged children to have a negative view of their own intellectual abilities. To address these concerns, he created a curriculum that incorporated the skills of logic and reasoning found in the activity of philosophy to improve students’ thinking in the K–12 setting. Today, there are P4C centers and practitioners all over the world.

The UHM Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education is the home of philosophy for children Hawai‘i (p4cHI). p4cHI aims to transform the school experience by engaging people in the activity of philosophy. Students and teachers convert traditional classrooms into intellectually safe communities of inquiry. Together, they develop their ability to think for themselves in responsible ways by exploring “big questions” that arise from their interests, experiences, and learning contexts. Firmly grounded in four main pillars–community, inquiry, philosophy and reflection–p4cHI practitioners translate theory to practice by engaging in the following classroom activities:

  • Creating Intellectual Safety
  • Making a Community Ball
  • Using the language of the Good Thinker’s Tool Kit
  • Participating in Plain Vanilla
  • Using Magic Words
  • Reflecting on the Community of Inquiry

The purpose of a p4cHI College of Education Endorsed Certificate is to meet the growing demand for local, national, and international p4cHI practitioners by creating an institutional pathway for developing, verifying, and officially recognizing the experience of certified practitioners.

Learn more about p4c Hawaii

Who should consider this program

Students (in undergraduate or graduate programs), teachers, other professionals, researchers, and community members who are interested in becoming a p4cHI practitioner.

Coursework & Portfolio


  • PHIL492: Philosophy with Children, an introductory course to p4cHI
  • PHIL 493: Teaching Philosophy, a supervised practicum in classrooms
  • At least one additional 200 level or above philosophy course
  • At least two additional College of Education courses
  • One elective course form either philosophy or education must be 300 level or higher and a cumulative GPA of 2.5 for all courses must be achieved to count towards the certificate.

Professional Portfolio

In addition, certificate program completers will also need to put together a professional portfolio that includes:

  1. The Program Application
  2. PHIL 492 Final Project
  3. One Exemplar p4cHI Lesson
  4. One Ten-Minute p4cHI Video Recorded Lesson
  5. Instructional Commentary
  6. Two Exemplar p4cHI Student Assessment Samples
  7. Assessment Commentary,
  8. Formal Observation Feedback
  9. A Culminating Final Product and Reflection
  10. A Record of Public Presentation
Application Process
  • For UHM students, admissions requirements are: Graduate or Undergraduate status.
  • For non-UH Mānoa students, admission requirements are: an AA or BA degree (or equivalent).
  • Those students who do not wish to enroll in a degree program may register for the courses through Outreach College.

All applicants must submit and/or complete the following during the p4cHI certificate program application process. Please email pdf copies of items 1-4 to Dr. Amber Strong Makaiau at

  1. Post-secondary Transcript with a 2.0 GPA or higher;
  2. Resume with up-to- date contact information, including email address;
  3. Statement of Purpose, answering the question: What are the reasons you are pursuing a p4cHI UHM COE endorsed certificate?
  4. Two Letters of Recommendation; and
  5. Personal Interview

Upon receipt of all the documents, Dr. Makaiau will contact you via email to set up a date for your personal interview. If you need assistance throughout the interview process, please email Dr. Makaiau with your questions.


International students who are already physically present at UHM on a student visa and enrolled in a UHM degree program are welcome to take the certificate, provided they continue to be in compliance with their visa regulations. At the time being, we are unfortunately unable to offer the certificate to international applicants who are not ALREADY in the U.S. on an approved non-immigrant visa.


Photo of Amber Makaiau

Amber Makaiau


(808) 956-6699