BY CHRISTINA WHITE
THE CATHOLIC Truth Society has launched a new teaching resource for religious education in England and Wales.
Aimed at primary school pupils The Way, the Truth and the Life, builds on the successes of the Key Stage 3 series implemented in secondary schools across the country in 1999.
The course covers the liturgical year, the sacraments and scripture. It meets the requirements of the Religious Education Curriculum Directory for Key stage 2 and is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Book 3 has just been issued, Book 4 will be available in September.
Fergal Martin, General Secretary of the CTS, said the series had opened up debate on the teaching of religious education in schools.
A significant minority, he said, were opposed to text book teaching on religion.
"Our aim is to contribute positively — we think it's important to put something into the hands of children — to get people thinking about the teaching of RE.", he said.
The series was developed by RE teachers. Pupils have their own textbooks enabling them to work independently or as a class. The books are brightly coloured with clear pictures and concise text.
Children are encouraged to participate, thinking about the issues involved. The section on Baptism asks children to "draw a picture of what they think their own baptism was like". A "typical" playground scene asks pupils to consider the impact of bullying and selfishness.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, chairman of the Catholic Education Service, described the books as "imaginative, stimulating and challenging" and a "tremendous help" to both teachers and pupils.