Inspiring Young Minds Through Philosophy

Empowering students with critical thinking and engaged citizenship through philosophical inquiry.



Founded in 2016 by Professor Kate Thomson-Jones of Oberlin College, PHITS (Philosophy in the Schools) is an innovative program designed to cultivate young minds through philosophical inquiry. Inspired by the natural curiosity of children, PHITS was born out of a vision to harness and direct this curiosity towards developing critical thinking, engaged listening, and understanding of complex arguments. Over the years, PHITS has thrived within the Oberlin community, fostering skills essential for academic success and active citizenship.

PHITS by the Numbers


Students Engaged

Since its inception, PHITS has facilitated philosophical inquiry and critical thinking among over 200 elementary and middle school students, nurturing young philosophers across grades 1 through 8.


Semesters and Counting

PHITS has successfully completed five semesters, each time expanding its curriculum and refining its approach to make philosophy accessible and engaging for all students.


Oberlin Collaborators

Over 60 dedicated Oberlin College students have collaborated as PHITS facilitators, bringing a diverse range of perspectives and philosophical discussions into the classroom.

Albino Squirrel, Philosophy in the Schools, Oberlin.

Since its inception in 2016, the PHITS program has been offered five times, both at Oberlin Elementary School, serving grades 1 through 5, and at Langston Middle School, for grades 7 and 8.


“PHITS is a meaningful opportunity for our students at Langston to connect with Oberlin College. They're introduced to philosophical ideas and questions in a supportive learning environment that encourages discourse and introspection. I look forward to having PHITS in our classrooms for years to come!”

Ms. Molly Angney

8th Grade English Language Arts
Langston Middle School

“PHITS fosters critical thinking and intellectual curiosity while connecting Oberlin's community. Middle school students explore fundamental philosophical concepts through engaging discussions and thought-provoking activities, igniting a passion for inquiry and open-minded exploration.”

Rachel Mentzer

Intervention and Enrichment SpecialistLangston Middle School

“From its inception, PHITS has exemplified some of the highest principles of community-engaged scholarship. Professor Thomson-Jones works closely with primary school teachers to ensure that the program complements their curricula. PHITS prepares college students to approach the work of community-engaged pedagogy with humility and reciprocity, preparing them to be teachers of philosophy to children and to be transformed themselves by the process.”

Tania Boster, Ph.D.

Director, Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship (ProCES)Office of the Dean of the CollegePrinceton University