Brighton Catholic Primary School students joined their peers from eight other Perth schools for a day in the gallery called ‘Philosothon’ on June 28.
AGWA education officer Lisa Young said it was the first time they had run the program for years 5 to 7 students.
‘The students coming are all kids who are studying philosophy at school,’ she said.
‘They come into the gallery to discuss philosophical concerns, using the artworks almost as texts.’
Ms Young said the students were split into groups of seven and spent about 50 minutes at a time considering artworks on display in the State collection.
‘They have a set of questions in a booklet,’ she said.
‘There is no correct answer ” they are trying to get the children to explore abstract ideas.’
During the afternoon, the students visited the Museum of Modern Art Exhibition Van Gogh, Dali and Beyond: The World Reimagined and were given a mystery philosophical question, with a spokesperson appointed in each group to present their answer.
John XXIII College Magis co-ordinator Annette Pedersen said Hale School had been running a Philosothon program for secondary students for years, and she put her hand up to co-ordinate one for younger students after it was introduced in Melbourne.
‘The idea of using art for younger students is a really easy way of engaging them,’ Dr Pedersen said.
‘I couldn’t believe how sophisticated their responses were.’
Dr Pedersen said because the pilot had been so successful last month, they would run the Philosothon annually and open it to any other schools, including State schools.