Freedom for pupils to discover

4th July 1997 at 01:00
Mayer Hillman rightly draws attention to the diverse restrictions that now limit young children's informal education outside school ("Protection racket", TES, June 20). But these affect the curriculum too, especially primary geography.

Children are now accustomed to learning how to notice and record and discuss daily experiences of school, home, shops and local routes as the beginning of "graphicacy" and of a sense of place, personal space and scale.

If this learning can now be adapted to the new restricted social environment, for example by making positive reference to protected play areas, the "school run" and the supermarket journey, well and good. The danger is that this important link between young children's living and school learning may be broken because this adaptation is overlooked in the revision of the national curriculum.

True, this is not strictly literacy or numeracy; but in primary education it does matter, if schools are to help young children make sense of their world.

ALAN BLYTH, Emeritus professor of education (Liverpool University) 9 St John's Road, Chester

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