Other side of the street

24th October 1997 at 01:00
Homes for All, By Terry Sparrow and John Price, Council for Education in World Citizenship Pounds 4.50, 13 West Smithfield London EC1A 9HY. Our Street, Our World, By Cathy Midwinter. WWF-UK Pounds 17.95. PO Box 963, Slough SL2 3RS

Terry Sparrow and John Price's Homes for All is one of a series of resource books for seven to 11-year-olds published by the Council for Education in World Citizenship. It looks at various aspects of homes and homelessness in relation to the human right to shelter and the housing needs of others.

The authors explain their cross-curricular approach, making links with such national curriculum subjects as personal and social education, geography, science and technology. Content, links, process points and preparation, together with suggestions for imaginative activities, are laid out clearly at the start of the book. There are photocopiable sheets for group work and three lively board games.

It is no accident that the worksheets are for groups: the book's introduction unequivocally states that teaching styles are important in education for citizenship. Consultation and group work encourage the attitudes and skills that are needed for effective citizenship, write the authors.

The booklet takes the familiar topic of homes into a new dimension. It should make both teachers and children think more deeply about everything to do with housing.

Our Street, Our World, linked to the Channel 4 series, Stop, Look, Listen, sets out to educate a younger age group, four to seven-year-olds, on environment and development issues.

It takes a typical urban street as a starting point to look at a range of world-wide themes - the built environment, water, food, recyling and trees. These in turn are related to key concepts such as change, attitudes and decisions.

A frieze, coloured photographs and photocopiable sheets accompany the pack. All except one of the photographs are clear, unambiguous pictures of life in Leicester and Delhi, seen through the eyes of two cousins, but the frieze is muddled. Children need and deserve a higher standard of artistic presentation than this.

Many activities are linked to the national curriculum. Younger practitioners might find the pace rather hectic, but an experienced teacher would be able to select from the ideas.

Unfortunately, there are many more closed questions than open-ended ones. In her haste to get over an urgent and worthwhile message, the author also overlooks the learning potential of creating and maintaining genuine environments in the classroom, in favour of talk and teacher-led activities.

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