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Stamps present a number of learning opportunities

A random collection of stamps, perhaps a few pounds' worth bought from a dealer, can present good learning opportunities. Ask children to explore the stamp in four aspects: by place on the globe, by point in time, by language, and by currency.

* Identify the country of origin (which may or may not still exist under the name on the stamp) using its English name.

* Place the country on a modern map.

* Identify the currency of the country - write the various denominations in full. Check whether the modern currency is the same.

* Try to identify the person or event shown on the stamp - use a good internet search engine and start with the text on the stamp.

Erene Grieve takes the message of the pleasure of stamps into schools across the country, showing her collection, talking about it, and invariably leaving behind a new-found enthusiasm. Her aim is to rekindle in children the experience she had at nine, when she and her father received and sorted their first batch of stamps.

"They were from all over the world. It showed a picture of the world to a child who didn't see TV and certainly didn't go abroad."

Erene represents the British Philatelic Trust, which produces resources for schools and youth groups:British Philatelic Trust107 Charterhouse Street, London EC1M 6PT Tel: 020 7490 3112 Fax: 020 7490 4253Email:

Stanley Gibbons is one of the world's major stamp dealers. Its catalogue is a definitive guide to values www.stanleygibbons.comDavid Allen Philatelics (dealer) Postal Museum has a good website and good material for schoolswww.bathpostal museum.orgThe Royal Mail has an online archive at www.consignia.comheritage Thanks to Erene Grieve, Peter Grubner, stamp buyer and valuer at Stanley Gibbons and David Allen of David Allen Philatelics, Doncaster

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