What is a Philosophy?

Definition and Types

If you use google you will find the following definitions for the word ‘philosophy’.

If you look at the synonums of the word ‘philosophy’ it uses words such as values, beliefs, theory, ideas, knowledge etc. This is exactly what we are documenting into a service philosophy. It is the collective values and beliefs (philosophy) of our services stakeholders including; management, staff, families, children and community.

We all have different beliefs and values that form the attitudes we have and this, in turn, influences how we behave.

These beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviour of others can be similar and different. Some people may not be aware of their behaviour because they are not aware of their own values and beliefs and how it may affect other people. We don’t need to change ourselves for other people but we need to find ways to work in cohesion in the same direction. Change in ourselves can meet growth and continuous learning and this can be daunting and uplifting.

  • Continuous learning and growth as an individual;
  • Being able to see ore opportunities you may not have seen before
  • more productive;
  • Build upon and improve your relationships with others and yourself
  • Achieving more and following your dreams;
  • Discovering the path you want to follow, being able to make clearer decisions confidently based on what you value and believe.

Let’s take a look at the definitions of some words as we start to explore who we are more.


Beliefs can be;

  • Concepts people hold true about themselves, others, things or the world around them.
  • Beliefs can be based on assumptions and judgments. What a person might perceive as right and sometimes without actual proof.
  • •Beliefs can limit us or be powerfully supportive

Let’s look at some examples of beliefs, are there some here you agree with or strongly disagree with?

  • “Children should be seen and not heard”.
  • “It’s my way or the highway”.
  • “Every experience is just another important lesson”.
  • “Asking for something is selfish”.
  • “You should not question authority”.
  • “You should eat all that is on your plate there are people starving”.
  • “Boys shouldn’t cry or play with dolls or hurt girls”.

Over many years of teaching I often ask my students why they chose to be an educator. The top answer would often be “because I am patient with children”. People used to always say to me when I was younger “Yyou should work with children because you are so patient.” Often people would then refer to being tolerant of children. Yet when I dig deep as to my values I believe it is because I don’t label (I believe no child is naughty, they are just learning) and I believe in not judging and having empathy and understanding for peoples behaviour to find the way and where they need support. As you continue to study this PD start to think and document more of who you are and what you believe or what others may say about you.

The following video shows an experiment for adults to see if they treat boys and girls differently and give them different opportunities based on what they believe about gender. Watch as an example as people didn’t believe their own results of behaviour towards gender bias.

The above was just an example to get you thinking. Now using the below attachment write down one of your beliefs and observe your own behaviour.


Values can be;

  • formed by a belief of a particular behaviour or idea;
  • behaviours, standards, or qualities we see as important to ourselves or others.
  • what we need for a sense of belonging.
  • different between people.

Following is another option for finding what your values and beliefs are.

When we share information about ourselves we building and strengthening required elements of a relationship which include, being honest and building trust. One way we could share information about our values and beliefs could be through a photo/s or a drawing in relation to particular areas such as children, curriculum, educators’ qualities, etc. Then have staff talk about why they chose this picture.

Or another…yet again, ask staff to share their theory or to find a photo as to what their theory looks like in practice and then describe this, as seen in the example below

When writing a service philosophy for it to truly be effective, for stakeholders to follow it and for it to underpin what we do we need to consider the following;

  • make sure we truly get to know our own values and beliefs, therefore perhaps write a personal philosophy first;
  • learn about others values and beliefs;
  • ensure the philosophy reflects the values and beliefs of all stakeholders;
  • write it without jargon so all stakeholders understand it;
  • consider pictures and words when completing one with children;
  • ensure your philosophy reflects current practice, theories, and research.

This can be a helpful exercise for individuals to grow through digging deep to discover further what their values and beliefs and where necessary critically reflecting and learning more about themselves and each other. This in turn can build teams as they discover more about each other as they share their values and beliefs.

Come together with one vision

Your philosophy i

We are required to have a philosophy that underpins what we do.