According to a research cited by The British Psychological Society: (via TEDBlog)
"Teaching children the art of collaborative philosophical inquiry brings them persistent, long-term cognitive benefits, according to psychologists in Scotland.
"Keith Topping and Steve Trickey first reported the short-term benefits of using "Thinking through Philosophy" with children in an earlier study."...
"Compared with 72 control children, the philosophy children showed significant improvements on tests of their verbal, numerical and spatial abilities at the end of the 16-month period relative to their baseline performance before the study."...
"The philosophy-based lessons encouraged a community approach to 'inquiry' in the classroom, with children sharing their views on Socratic questions posed by the teacher. "
In a somewhat related story, Daniel Dennett proposed that world religions should be compulsory taught to kids at a very young age. I've often wondered how come philosophy and world religions have never been thought to kids in the first place. Are adults underestimating their capacity for self-inquiry and critical thinking? Or was it because of a tradition of imposing control on what kids should learn in school? I think it's both, but more of the latter.
As for me, I will not wait for public policy to make philosophy and religion compulsory subjects in schools. When I've got kids of my own, I plan to expose them to philosophical inquiry and world religions as early as possible. Then it would be up to them to make their informed choices and decisions in life. Teach Philosophy and Religion to Kids? from ~C4Chaos by ~C4Chaos