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Workshop to engage children in philosophy with books

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Batavia resident Leo Heska said he believes children are natural philosophers.

“They play that ‘why’ game,” Heska said. “They are playing, but it isn’t frivolous.”

Heska will lead the six-week Young Philosophers workshop starting Oct. 12 at the Batavia Public Library, 10 S. Batavia Ave.

The free workshop will meet from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. at the library. Information is available by calling Heska at 630-482-9166, or at www.hslit.org/p4k/index.html.

For the past three years, Heska has led the Fox Valley Homeschool Teen Literature Group. He has homeschooled his son for the past six years.

Heska has a background in education. He has a bachelor’s degree in math education and a master’s degree in educational technology.

The workshop is modeled after the work of Thomas Wartenberg, a professor of philosophy at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. He has been recognized for his work in teaching philosophy to children using children’s literature.

“I’m working with him closely,” Heska said. “He’s kind of an evangelist for this.”

In the workshop, leaders will read children’s books aloud and engage the children in philosophical discussion by posing questions tailored to the book.

“What we are trying to do is teach kids the ability to engage in a philosophical discourse,” Heska said.

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