In brief;Reviews;Religious Education

14th May 1999 at 01:00
HUNT THE DAISY: The Living Churchyard and Cemetery Project. The Arthur Rank Centre, National Agriculture Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, CV8 2LZTel: 01203 696969 pound;4.95 per pack

There is something very Hardy-like in visiting a cemetery to find evidence of vitality and continuity. This unpretentious study pack offers children many opportunities to think about the processes of life as they range respectfully among the dead.

It comes in two sections. There are 16 simple photocopiable A4 worksheets which invite young investigators at key stage 2 to use their eyes and their imaginations in many ways. These include looking at the church building itself and then in more detail at the trees, insects, grass, mosses and birds that surround it.

They are urged to learn about foodchains and find evidence of pollution in the air and on surfaces. They are also helped to look closely at headstones and think about the lives they commemorate.

Notes for teachers provide more supportive details. With the headstones, for example, there is guidance on the types of lichen and liverworts to be found in the differing micro-climates on the two surfaces, and suggestions as to how beliefs about death and the after-life might be suggested by a variety of differing linguistic usages in the inscriptions.

To Hardy, the churchyard was "a dwelling-place". This thoughtful pack will enable children to share something of his vigilant and sympathetic observation of the places where the majority of us reside.

Tom Deveson

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