With geography programmes of study about to be dumped from key stages 1 and 2, now is the time for primary teachers to give children exciting things to learn about the world around them and do some "real geography". But pity the poor publishers in all this, yet again caught out by shifts in government mood.
Cambridge University Press has done the right thing in gearing its new Primary Geography series to what are still, but only just, statutory requirements. Without the imperative to teach river erosion, transportation and deposition, I'm sure this otherwise splendid set of resources on rivers might well have avoided these terms, and others like "bed load" and "hydraulic action".
Yet here is an exciting brace of books plus some first-rate pictures - admirably laminated for extended use - that offer teachers a spread of ideas, photocopiable sheets and studies of real rivers and their features. Some of the ideas would not be out of place in the early years of key stage 3, but they are presented here in a challenging and manageable form which the brightest of key stage 2 children could use.
The pupil's book also has some arresting artwork and takes unusual angles, such as rivers for fun as well as study. The pack of A3 colour photographs includes a matching map and picture of Symonds Yat, a spectacular view of High Force waterfall, a placid scene on the Amazon and a series showing the course of the Trent. Each is backed with information and ideas for teachers, although some are rather ambitious for the intended age-range.
Teachers who have worked long and hard to produce teaching schemes on rivers have not laboured in vain. Carry on teaching about these fascinating geographical features.
Colin Harris is an independent inspector and consultant based in Hertfordshire