THEIR UNIVERSE: A Look into Children's Hearts and Minds by Arlene & Others Uslander

THEIR UNIVERSE: A Look into Children's Hearts and Minds

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An interpretative survey of group discussions with primary grade children which took place throughout an experimental pilot course called ""People Studies"" in a white middle-class suburb of Chicago -- the bulk of the material based on taped sessions excerpted here. The original intent of the program was to explore the possibility of incorporating sex education into the curriculum. However, eventually the lightly structured give-and-take between the nine children and a leader became both an arena where the students could express individual fears and problems, and an aid to thinking about better ways of living together. Skeptics may point out that these children, obviously bright and verbally assured, mimic adult attitudes like quicksilver -- which could account for an almost schooled readiness to jump to hortatory conclusions (""I guess you're right. I didn't think about it that way. I'll never steal anything again""). Also one child is so wildly precocious that no group could fail to be influenced by aphorisms that could be published in a book by themselves: ""No matter how good or bad a person is, no matter how smart or dumb he is,"" quoth Richard, ""every single person needs and loves someone deep down inside"" or ""A religion makes a man out of men."" Lesser class members also manage to get off some sparklers: divorce is ""when people . . . walk down the aisle backwards."" Fun aside, the children did air real concerns -- peer-group pressure, the adult ""double standard,"" death, friendship, sibling troubles, pets, school worries -- and sex (""When you mate. . ."" says Richard, ""you say 'I love you'""). A sunny prospectus for educators.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1972
Publisher: Delacorte