Tuesday 7 May 2013

Australian History for Primary Age Children

I was asked not long ago if I had any suggestions for Australian History for younger children but I had a mental blank at the time.
Well, I do have a couple of recommendations - one of which my youngest pulled off the shelf just recently -  so here they are.

Janette's Pictures of Australian History - and Timeline Figures

This resource covers Australia's first hundred years in pen and ink drawings with an accompanying rhyme for each picture plus some added notes. The pictures cover a wide range of people, places and events: Aboriginal life, explorers, artists, Governors, convicts and poets are included and although the author has stated that the resource is not meant to be comprehensive, she has certainly included a wide range of interesting material.


Included are 35 pages of drawings, ideas on how to use the pictures and an alphabetical index of the contents. The pictures are printed on good quality card stock and we photocopied and enlarged the pictures to make the writing easier for younger children to read and used them for note booking and timelines. 
The author suggests using the pictures as a springboard for further investigation which is basically what we did when I used them a few years ago with 3 of my boys.
Personally, I think the material suits about ages 8 to 10 but I'm sure it could be adapted to a wider range of ages. My only 'criticism' is that I think the rhymes are a little forced at times - that may put older children off and it did annoy me at times.

My second recommendation is The Story of Australia which is part of the Childcraft series of books which are out of print but often turn up in op shops or Lifeline book fairs.
All my kids loved this book. It has good sized print and just enough writing on each person or event (about one and a half pages) for children who can read but would struggle to read a whole chapter on their own.
Voyages of Discovery, The First Settlers, Gold Fever, Founders and Pioneers and Gallipoli are some of the contents. I think I paid a couple of dollars for a whole set of Childcraft books and they have all been well used.

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