Annabelle Dixon on two books that aim to promote an understanding of human relationships and community in the very young
People and Communities is one of a series of PSMC resource books for key stage 1 under the general heading of Growing Up Today. Other titles include Relationships, Dealing with Problems and Understanding Feelings. Each follows a similar format in that they make use of well-established and popular children's story books to explore certain themes more deeply. Great efforts have been made to ensure the books are both teacher- and child-friendly by the inclusion of further background information about each story being used, teaching notes and clear photocopiable activity sheets. It's recognised that some children are less confident readers than others but still need to feel a sense of accomplishment which doesn't rely on their level of proficiency in de-coding text, so these sheets are helpfully differentiated.
The notion of "community" is deliberately explored in settings both familiar and unfamiliar to children, for instance an "island" and an "urban" community. Conceptually it is good to see such books moving away from stilted titles such as "People Who Help Us" to more thoughtful consideration of such underlying notions as "Community".
Many class teachers will find such a book particularly helpful when considering citizenship education at KSl as well as its contribution to their PSMC curriculum.
Annabelle Dixon was a member of the primary sub-group of the Crick Committee on education for citizenship and is now Research Associate at Cambridge University School of Education