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E. Anne Gibson and Barry Griffiths.

Toronto, Gage Publishing, c1981.
186pp, paperbound boards, $9.25.
ISBN 0-7715-8144-0.


E. Anne Gibson and Barry Griffiths.

Surrey (BC), Heritage House Publishing, c1982.
94pp, paper, spiral bound, $9.50.
ISBN 0-7715-8145-9.

Grade 4.
Reviewed by Howard Hurt.

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

Canada: Our People is the second of four hard-covered textbooks and coil-bound guides that comprise CORE (Canada: Our Roots and Environment). This series has been written for grades 4 to 6 and forms the intermediate portion of the Gage/Macmillan Elementary Social Studies Program. The authors, who are elementary administrators from North York, have tried to construct a year's work for nine-year-old children that would be readable, sequential, and teachable.

The first three selections introduce Canadian families from cultures outside the mainstream. By observing the details of daily life, pupils are led to understand that, no matter how different people might appear, they all have common feelings and aspirations. The second section focuses on settlers in Saskatchewan, pioneers in New France, and Indians from the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. These stories point out how the traditions of formative societies are often created by the physical environment, which, in turn, is altered by humans to meet their needs. The final chapters, using examples of the Inuit at Bathurst Inlet, the settlement of southern Ontario, and the Nootka, demonstrate that all societies change over time but usually do not lose fundamental values.

Although the two most basic aims of the book are the development of empathy for unfamiliar groups and an awareness of societal change, a great many specific skills are systematically introduced. In fact, the guide classifies more than one-hundred social studies skills and indexes them to particular chapters. It also includes objectives, suggestions for introducing topics, discussion points and estimated reading levels which, in this volume, vary from mid grade 3 to upper grade 4.

The titles in the CORE series plus the two more advanced texts, which offer a formal study of Canada's social and political history, provide a thoughtful and unique view of Canadian life and history. If conscientious pupils were led through all six volumes by skilful teachers, they would enter high school with a perceptive understanding of this country. However, even the most committed nationalist must surely question whether we can afford to devote the entire elementary social studies curriculum to Canada. We live in a global community, and other nations and other problems demand attention.

Unfortunately, the CORE program is designed to be used as a program. If a school chose just one of the texts for use in a province that devoted a single elementary year to Canadian studies, the coverage would not only be inadequate but almost eccentric. Obviously our ministries of education must make clear decisions concerning time allotments for the social studies if publishers are to profitably meet real school needs.

This text has already been listed in Ontario's Circular 14. A class set would be useful as a supplementary reader in any elementary school whether or not it is on its provincial list. Since the guide and teacher input are essential elements, however, it would have limited usefulness in school libraries.

Howard Hurt, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
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