SOPHIA is an open, cooperative Foundation, registered in Amsterdam (number 41212853) for European teachers, philosophers, teacher educators, parents and others interested in the field of doing philosophy with children. 

SOPHIA is at heart a welcoming, open and inclusive community of people who practice philosophy with children  in Europe. Philosophy with Children is a general term which encompasses different methodologies for engaging children in group discussion and dialogue about philosophical topics which interest the children. All Philosophy with children methodologies develop critical and creative thinking and increase confidence in the children, and simultaneously transform the groups of children into communities in which everyone is equally respected.

Through out  the 1980’s a number of centres were established to advance philosophy with children in different European countries. Often alone in their country, Europeans were developing materials for practising pwc,  creating communities of enquiry with groups of children in schools and in the community, educating teachers in implementing pwc.  It was an exciting time full of possibilities and also challenges.  At this time the idea that children could philosophise, and the benefits for children of engaging in philosophical dialogue were not easily accepted by the educational mainstream in most countries, so links with other pwc practitioners were very important for mutual support and development. 

The growth of a community between European pwc practitioners  culminated in the establishment of  “Stichting SOPHIA —The European Foundation for the Advancement of Doing Philosophy with Children” in 1993, with Eulalia Bosch (Catalonia) as its President, and Karel van der Leeuw (the Netherlands) Secretary.  Following the motto of the European Community (now the EU) – ‘ unity through diversity’, SOPHIA supported  the development of doing philosophy with children  within  all the different European cultures and languages, and nurtured the community among practitioners as the foundation for collaborative work and mutual development. Many ground-breaking and innovative projects have resulted from SOPHIA members working together, often funded by the EU. For example pwc projects working with art, citizenship, excluded children, architecture, anti-racism, music, community development and  more.

SOPHIA is legally constituted under Dutch law and registered in Amsterdam. Under the current (1993) constitution the Board of SOPHIA is made up of one person representing an organization  for doing philosophy with children initially from the Founding Centres: The Netherlands, Hungary, UK (Scotland), Austria, Poland, Catalonia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain and The Czech Republic. The following countries joined in 1994: England, Wales, Malta, Greece, Switzerland. And  in 2004-5: Belgium, Iceland, Latvia, Slovenia, Norway, Romania, Finland, France, Turkey joined SOPHIA. The Executive of SOPHIA are elected by its members.

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