What Price Peace?

A teaching resource for primary schools exploring issues of war and peace

Chris Hudson

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Content

Primary schools don't usually cover the First World War in History, but there are times when we should make an exception. The 1914-18 centenary will be marked nationally in a variety of ways over the next four years, notably with a football match celebrating the famous one played in No Man's Land on Christmas Day in 1914. Explaining all this to our pupils will require teachers acquainting themselves with an unfamiliar topic, and having to search for positive things to say and do regarding a chain of events usually seen as an international catastrophe. How?

Our new resource book What Price Peace? provides teachers with new stories and detailed cross-curricular lesson material on the First World War for the full primary age-range (with additional ideas for collective worship). It vividly re-enacts the popular flag-waving patriotism that marked the beginning of the conflict, the range of responses felt at home and abroad as the grim reality of warfare sank in, and an examination of some key beliefs expressed at the time about God, Christian values and our national life. Due respect is paid to 'the fallen', but questions are also asked about the conflict's long-term consequences.

A century on, with British armed forces continuing to serve in trouble spots around the world, study of the 'Great War' offers children the opportunity to engage with powerful issues of faith and belief, helping them to think through questions such as: Is fighting always wrong? How can we work out what is true? How should bullying be resisted? Are some people worth more than others? How do we deal with fear, pain and suffering? Can we really love our enemies as Jesus said?

This unique resource will help teachers and pupils to explore 'remembrance' in its fullest sense - drawing together a wide range of memories, thoughts and ideas, enabling the commemoration to play a full part in a school's provision for spiritual, moral, social and cultural education. What Price Peace? provides ten units of classroom material and three assemblies for 5-11s based around the theme of the First World War. Each unit contains background information, an imaginative retelling of a real-life event, and cross-curricular activities related to RE, History, Literacy and PSHE/Citizenship.

The benefits of What Price Peace? for churches

  • Helps encourage children and young people to ask difficult questions
  • Helps to connect the Jesus of the Bible to our modern world
  • Provides a number of surprising stories that you can use as the basis of open discussion

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Author info

Chris Hudson is part of BRF's Barnabas Children's Ministry team. An experienced teacher, author and trainer, dedicated to promoting high quality teaching and learning in primary schools, he provides regular INSET for schools on a variety of themes related to the Bible and Christianity, together with Barnabas RE Day storytelling, drama and music workshops for schoolchildren.

Reviews

Review from The Franciscan May 2015

This Barnabas in Schools book is right in time. It will make it possible for primary school children to take part in the centenaries of the First World War. It is a time when we can ask: What does it mean to be British? Is war ever justified? Why should we support our troops? What should we do for the victims and survivors of war? How do we make peace? Is God ever on anyone's side? Teachers get resources to work with subjects like: Is war right?, Recruiting, who is responsible?, truth, rumours and myth; Keeping sanity, normality and humanity in all of the misery through art, friendship and poetry; People in war who don't take active part in the fights (chaplains and medical teams); Those who refuse to go to way; Peace making; Remembrance.

The book includes ten units to work with, each of which gives the teacher in RE, History, Literacy, and PSHE/Citizenship a background to the subject for the unit, a true story from the war and suggestions of how to work with the children. The suggestions are divide into two age groups: 5-7 and 8-11, and each unit ends with a prayer and a thought for the day. You also get information about how to use the internet. To end this interesting and in some ways provocative book you are guided in how you can lead three assemblies. This book gives you a good opportunity to talk about war and peace in general and all its complications, but the focus is the First World War.

Micael Christoffer SSF


This is a brilliant book, and though designed for use within a primary school setting and for a number of subjects - RE, PSHCE, Literacy and History - would seriously recommend it to anyone wanting a resource dealing with 'The Great War' for children, or indeed all age groups.

The stories cover a range of people and topics dealing with War and Peace, and are perfectly suited not only for a school setting but could also be used without much difficulty in a sermon setting, I would think.

The book includes prayers, suggestions for activities, thoughts for the day, sketches, and a whole host more activities and ideas. They are divided between the age groups of 5 - 7 & 8 - 11, but can easily be taylored to work with an older group if required.

This is perfect school material, well formulated, planned, and set out - but I really think that many other groups and organisations, not just schools, would find real benefit in this book during this Centenery of the 1914 - 1918 War.

Reviewer: Melanie Carroll from the GoodBookStall (26/03/14)


From the Church Times

IT IS strange that primary schools rarely cover the First World War. But this year is surely an exception. What Price Peace? A teaching resource for primary schools exploring issues of war and peace, by Chris Hudson is, therefore, a welcome arrival on the bookshelves.

The volume is suitable for a cross-curricular approach, using the war as a focus for RE, History, PSHE, and particularly Literacy.

Parents and grandparents will be grateful that the school is undertaking this on their behalf. The unimaginable slaughter involved is probably why schools have shied away from even mentioning it. And yet the Christmas truce, Woodbine Willie, The Wipers Times, the Angel of Mons, and Toc H, among many more, open the door to imaginative, but also factual consideration of the war years.

Michael Morpugo's brilliant stories for children, Warhorse and Private Peaceful, provide the ideal background for two of the author's chosen themes: the white feather, and the widespread affection for animals felt by soldiers on the Western Front.

As Britain struggles again, in 2014, to come to terms with its position within Europe and the world, there is surely an ever-urgent responsibility on schools to explain to our children the events that have created and defined our island story.

And this is a year like no other: the 70th anniversary of D-Day takes place on 6 June, and it is the centenary of the start of the First World War. The publishers have got it right. To tackle the First World War in primary schools is an idea whose time has come.

Written by Dennis Richards

Book details

  • ISBN: 9781841016917
  • Published: 21 March 2014
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192
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