A positive feature of the geography national curriculum is the abundance of excellent publications to go with it. Folens Geography has built on the experience of others, and has won gold and silver Geographical Association awards.
These newest additions to the series extend the choice of localities and feature two of the geography themes for key stage 2. The richly resourced locality packs are reasonably priced and the thematic packs, though slimmer, are also a good buy.
A valuable feature of Folens Geography is the publication of additional resources, extending the use of the basic materials to pupils with special needs.
The theme packs on rivers and weather contain two large posters, 16 A4-sized photos and a teacher's book including photocopiable activity sheets. The photographic quality is excellent and the inclusion of maps and aerial photographs is appropriate. However, there is no satellite imagery - an unfortunate omission.
Neither pack has treated the physical world in isolation, but both emphasise the impact of the natural features on the people who experience them.
Although photographs are superimposed on a stylised river system on the two rivers posters, one features the landscape forms that result, while the other shows how people manage rivers for agriculture, power and recreation.
One weather poster illustrates world climates with stunning photographs, clear graphs and artwork; the other demonstrates the effect of snow, rain, wind and sun on people in a variety of environments.
The Indian locality chosen is Jodhpur in Rajasthan and the urban locality is Clerkenwell in London. The abundance of resources provided includes four very large posters, 20 A4 photographs, and a large teacher's book with photocopiable activity sheets. Particularly valuable are the large maps covering the whole of India as well as Rajasthan, and inner and greater London.
In both cases there is considerable emphasis on the broader region. There is less emphasis on locality and family than in many comparable packs. With the loosening of national curriculum demands this is acceptable and in terms of good geography it cannot be faulted. There is also much valuable historical material in each pack.
The four packs are wide ranging, attractive and enjoyable for the target age group and will enable teachers with limited geographical background to cover these topics with confidence.