The argument is familiar and frequently presented as final: how can a God of love, or at the very least, a benevolently disposed higher being, be justified in the face of past and present suffering? It is to the credit of the Christian Education Movement that it has recognised an issue in RE which is fundamental but frequently side-stepped, often because teachers lack suitable materials.
RE in practice: Why do people suffer?, which comes in primary and secondary versions, presents accessible arguments, storie and examples of the lives of those who have experienced suffering from the Buddhist, Christian and Jewish traditions. Their respect for children is shown by an avoidance of easy answers, but the issues are dealt with clearly and sympathetically. The only caveat is that some of the lower primary materials are likely to be unsuitable for this age group.
The Active Learning Strategies handbook supports spiritual and moral development, and is based on the sound premise that children of any age gain considerably by active involvement and engagement in their own learning. The activities vary in quality and practicality, but experienced teachers will be able to make adjustments and most will find some real nuggets.
Annabelle Dixon is a research associate at the University of Cambridge School of Education