The primary geography curriculum offers a clear opportunity for children to begin to think about international development issues. Geographical skills and the development of an enquiry approach can provide a framework for exploring a range of local and global issues. For example, children who can ask questions about transport in their own locality can transfer this skill to enquiring about transport needs and problems in a developing country.
Themes such as interdependence, sustainability, rights and responsibilities can all be introduced at an appropriate level. Children considering 'the quality of the environment in a street' at Key Stage 1 are beginning to think about the right to play and be safe, the responsibility of planners, councils and communities and how their own actions can impinge on others. At Key Stage 2 these themes can take on a more global dimension. These issues support both the geography and PSHE/Citizenship curriculum.
Tocuaro: a Mexican Village provides accessible, inspiring materials to support the geography curriculum at Key Stages 1 and 2. The KS1 picture pack contains eight A2-size colour photoboards which inspire the children to observe similarities and differences, ask questions and 'express their views about people, places and environments.' The KS2 pupil's book provides locality information and starting points for looking at environmental issues. It includes a case study of the Horta family as well as background information on the eruption of the Paricutin volcano and pollution in Lake Patzcuaro.
Increasingly geography is supported through the literacy hour. Children can use non-fiction texts about the daily lives of people in other countries or stories from other cultures to begin to 'identify and describe what places are like'. 'Our Friends in the Country' is a big book for KS1 pupils that looks at the life of a family living in a rural part of Northern Kenya.
ActionAid has a new resource, 'Learning Global Lessons: 50 non-fiction literacy hours' that provides material that can be used in the literacy hour as a springboard for further geographical enquiry. It contains a range of secondary sources of information from countries around the world such as letters, maps and photographs.
Page prepared by Kim Stephenson, free-lance development education worker.