8th December 2000 at 00:00
STEP BY STEP ART 1-4. Key Stage 1. Lower Key Stage 2. Upper Key Stage 2. By Dianne Williams. Topical Resources. pound;12.95 each. (pack of four pound;48).

Each of these books covers a separate phase of the primary school art curriculum, but all have the same clear, easy-to-use format. Dianne Williams takes, in turn, drawing, painting, printing, collage, sculpture and textiles - the six areas targeted by the national curriculum art document.

She provides the teacher with "recipes" for sequences of graded sessions that lead pupils through the use of new materials, techniques and thinking. For instance, in book 1 for nurseryreception, the six sessions on printing move from exploring the technique through random patterns, repeat patterns and experimenting with a range of surfaces, to mono printing.

In book 4 for upper key stage 2, the equivalent section covers two-colour block printing, string and card blocks, creating and using a background, roller offset prints and, finally, bubble printing and marbling.

The ctivities are varied and attractive and eminently "do-able" by the non-specialist - there seem to be no flights of fancy attainable only by the artistically gifted on a good day. Indeed, at the beginning of each book is a formidable list of schools that have tested the ideas in practice and whose work illustrates the text.

Each session also ends with helpful connections to the work of "other artists", and books 3 and 4 introduce additional sections on sketchbook work.

As you would expect, for each session Williams lists the equipment needed and provides instructions, but there is also an extremely helpful preliminary "talk about" list before the doing can start.

Under the pretext of ensuring pupils debate what they are doing and why, this deftly presents the teacher with a secure idea of how the session can flourish, while averting possible trouble. One of my favourites is:

"Discuss the safe use of a glue gun" - enough said.

Susan Morris Susan Morris is a museum and gallery educator

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