Citizenship

20th October 2000 at 01:00
PREPARING SUCCESSFUL HEALTHY EDUCATED CITIZENS. By Elaine Abbott. educaRI, London N19 3AL, pound;24. tel: 020 7263 0510.

GROWING UP TODAY SERIES. Me as a Person. Me as a Citizen. By Carole Bornickle and Duncan Wilson. Hopscotch Publishing pound;15.99 each including photocopiable activities.

PARTNERS IN RIGHTS ACTIVITY PACK. Save the Children, pound;10 plus pamp;p. Order on: 01752 202301 www.savethechildren.org.uk.

The new personal, social and health education and citizenship curriculum joined the primary school repertoire in September. For secondary schools, PSHEC will feature as a foundation subject from September 2002.

Preparing Successful Healthy Educated Citizens provides a helpful overview of what is required for primary schools. It discusses opportunities for learning and offers guidance on completing curriculum audit and in-service work.

The text establishes a welcome tone of reassurance from the outset that this is not another entirely new initiative to add to the sense of curriculum overload. PSHEC will be familiar territory for many, incorporating as it does the stock in trade of good primary practice featured in assemblies or school councils.

Elaine Abbott explores the ingredients that help to develop personal confidence, active citizenship, healthy schools, and personal responsibility. Simple grids help schools to cross-reference class, whole-school and other experiences with the national curriculum.

She recommends involving the whole school community in reflecting on current practice and unmet needs. Training and professional issues such as parental involvement and child protection are dealt with pragmatically and helpfully.

The Growing Up Today series has the authentic voice of primary practitioners with a quiet passion and belief in education for life. From the start of Me as a Person, the authors advise on introducing circle time, a school counciland other practices to support personal development and a sense of community.

The activities for delivery at various age-levels strongly promote the child's emerging individual identity and self-worth. The authors handle the issues of social diversity, physical maturity and personal responsibility with exceptional skill.

Themes such as travel to and from school use stimuli including drama, short stories, and newspapers as starting points for debate, education about social context and quietly reflective follow-up activities.

The second title, Me as a Citizen, helps children consider their role within the wider community. The chapter headings in themselves represent a statement on values, dealing with opinions, responsibilities, behaviour, decisions, identity and democracy. Excellent.

Save the Children has recognised the coincidence of the Human Rights Act and the PSHEC curriculum with the publication of Partners in Rights. This superb pound;10 package was developed as part of Save the Children's Partners project, involving young people in the UK, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Partners creative arts project was designed to increase understanding of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, resulting in this collation of photocards, a resource book and poster proclaiming the UNCRC articles. The beautiful, often sobering images celebrate opportunities and challenges facing children from a range of cultures and communities.

The resource book uses these images and other starting points to provide 100 powerful pages of creative ideas supporting interpersonal skills, debate and discussion. Finally, the poster is a powerful reminder of what really matters. Article 42 sums it up: "You have a right to learn about your rights and adults should learn about them too."

Jon O'Connor is head of Parkside primary in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.


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