Currently studying in Concordia’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture, Fletcher has been working diligently over the last eight years to change that. She is the director of Brila, a youth charity that runs creativity camps and workshops that encourage curious children aged six and up to think critically and be philosophical.
“From actually working with them, you see that even though they haven’t been given a chance to talk about these issues necessarily, they have so many ideas about them,” says Fletcher, who is an endorsed practitioner of the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children and its UNESCO-recognized Philosophy for Children model.
Brila’s Creativity Camps provide children with a platform to express and develop those ideas with the help of their peers. A separate leadership workshop is also held for teens aged between 13 and 18, with many participants staying as junior facilitators for the younger groups.
The bilingual camps feature a series of creative exercises that allow the kids to see how their different views are represented as they engage in a continuous, playful and open-minded dialogue. Those exercises include philosophical versions of classic board games such as Clue and Guess Who.
“It’s created so that inevitably there will be unfairness in how you play it,” Fletcher says. “It gets them asking questions about what would be fair, and naturally they’re having this discussion about the issue of fairness.”
Fletcher explains that the lively discussions are a growing experience for everyone — including herself. As a facilitator during the activities, she is more than happy to stay out of the kids’ way once they’re engaged and brimming with ideas.
“It’s completely children-driven, so you don’t know where they’re going to go with the discussion and you don’t know what their final perspectives are going to be,” Fletcher says. “In that sense the content is always really exciting because it’s unexpected and they come up with these amazing worldviews that definitely impact my own.”