Young counterparts

8th November 1996 at 00:00
Colin Harris on positive images of the developing world for primary children. CLEAN WATER - A RIGHT FOR ALL PROJECT PACK Children of the World - Tanzania Pounds 4. Karibu Tanzania - An Introduction to Tanzania (including photoset) Pounds 6 Children of the World - Columbia Pounds 4 An Introduction to Columbia (including photoset) Pounds 5.70 Age range 5-11 UNICEF, 55 Lincoln's Inn Fields London WC2A 3NB.

FEELING GOOD ABOUT FARAWAY FRIENDS Leeds Development Education Centre, 151-153 Cardigan Road Leeds, LS6 1LJ Pounds 15 plus postage Age range 5-11

MAKING IT REAL - INTRODUCING A GLOBAL DIMENSION IN THE EARLY YEARS. Community Education Development CentreDevelopment Education Centre BirminghamSave the Children 998 Bristol Road, Selly Oak Birmingham B29 6LE Pounds 5 plus postage.

All these materials attempt to bring a sense of world awareness to young learners. They also emphasise the valuable contribution made by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Development Education Centres (DECs) in providing attractively-priced teaching resources.

This year, we have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of UNICEF's tireless efforts to draw attention to the plight of the world's children and to encourage informed action on their behalf. However, there is a danger this will distress young children and leave them with no hope for the future.

UNICEF cleverly counters this fear not only in the revised Water Pack, in which sensitively chosen photographs supplement often humorous artwork and background information for teachers, but also in the delightful shots of real children, frequently smiling and laughing, from the continents of Africa and South America in the packs on Tanzania and Columbia.

Clean drinking water, the photos remind us, is one of the basic rights of all children.

The Children of the World series is designed to encourage positive attitudes towards children from other countries and communities. There are two booklets and a set of colour photographs for each country. One gives background information and advice on the use of the pictures, while the other offers photocopiable sheets, clearly and often amusingly drawn, to support a range of teaching ideas.

The set of materials on Columbia is especially welcome as the impression given in rare reports from that country is of a society dominated by drug dealing. It is good for our own children to know that their counterparts in Columbia seem to have similar experiences to their own. Unfortunately, the children in the photographs appear to be rather older than the age of the intended readership.

Another highly attractive set of photographs accompanies the Feeling Good about Faraway Friends pack, which claims to provide enough material for half a term on the daily life of a Maasai family in Kenya, using what are referred to as "self-esteem approaches". Do not be deterred by this, nor by the pair of photographs which seem to depict the cutting of a cow's throat. The farmers are in fact branding their stock.

Clearly you do not need to spend so much time on the geography of a distant place, but developing respect for other people and their often contrasting ways of life is an essential reason for studying geography in the first place. There is certainly enough information here and a wide enough range of suggestions to provide a depth study of a contrasting locality for those primary teachers dissatisfied with the frequently superficial coverage of distant places found in some geography textbooks. While the emphasis is mainly on geography, these packs do all meet wider educational objectives.

Making it Real also focuses on a global dimension in the early years. This well-designed handbook is crammed with practical suggestions which have been originated and tested by teachers and other workers with young children and so have the stamp of practicality on them.

Suggestions in the pack combine activities for training sessions, the planning process and what could take place in the classroom. Further suggestions are given for the choice and use of photographs, making this a useful supplement to the other packs reviewed here.

Colin Harris is a geography consultant

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