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Barnes, Karen and Lorna Thomas.

Edited by Raymond Gariepy. Edmonton. Legal Resource Centre. Faculty of Extension. University of Alberta. c1985. 100pp. paper. $12.95. ISBN 0-919792-03-0. Distributed by Legal Resource Centre, University of Alberta. 10049-81 Ave., Edmonion. Alta., T6E IW7. CIP

Reviewed by Louise Griffith

Volume 14 Number 5
1986 September

Kids at Work is a practical handbook for teachers in the elementary school, enabling them to use dramatic arts or docudrama to enhance the study of law. It would also be useful for history teachers concerned with child labour in Victorian times, or with the problems of migrant workers in Alberta or elsewhere. Dramatic arts leachers might wish to add it to their libraries, because it gives very explicit directions about how to conduct such a program. Experienced drama teachers will consider the methods used very sound and will pick up a few new ideas to use for themselves.

The basic theme of Kids at Work is child labour in a variety of aspects. It records how two differeni teachers developed this theme with students. The first group considered children in Victorian times, iheir exploitation by cruel employers, and the consequent development of unions.

The second section tells about a family of migrant Métis sugar beet workers in southern Alberta. A two year old child, left unattended while her mother worked, died. The parents were interviewed by teams of TV reporters. Because of the angry response to the interviews, the Children's Aid Society removed the rest of the family's children.

In the first play, the pupils are given an opportunity to discuss working conditions and union laws. In the second, laws governing freedom of the press, minimum wages, working conditions, child labour, and the rights of the Children's Aid Society to take children into protective custody are explored.

The book contains much useful information and help for the teacher, including what the teacher might say, both "in role" and as teacher. There are a number of historical pictures, which would be more useful if labelled as to place, date, and subject. There is also an excellent annotated bibliography including drama and integrated arts material, as well as relevant fiction and non-fiction for children. The legal material relates only to Alberta, although others who are interested could obtain similar material from their own legislatures. The format of the book is very successful, with ring-binding cartoons, colour blocks and different sizes of print, all combined very skilfully.

Although this book is intended primarily for Alberta elementary teachers, it could be used by those in other provinces and in high schools and youth groups.

Louise Griffith, Agincourt, Ont.
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