Tuesday, February 21, 2012

22nd February Robert Baden-Powell (1857 - 1941)

Robert Baden -Powell, the founder of the scouting movement was born on this day a long time ago. I have had reason to think about scouts in the last week or so, as I am serialising Jill Tomlinson's The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark for Year 1 at the moment. I have read this very funny story about Plop, a baby barn owl many times before and it has never failed me, but this year I am noticing that I have needed to stop to explain more than usual. Why? Well I think it is because the children that I teach no longer have some of the experiences that the children in the story do. They have a bonfire in their backyard and their father lets of fireworks. Boy scouts have a campfire, play in the dark, sing camp songs and drink cocoa. The children I teach only get to see fireworks in a distant display. They have no close experience and they do not seem to know any scouts. There are several scout halls and scout packs in the vicinity, but their cohort are not among those who attend them. My son was a cub and then a scout and it provided him with a chance to excel, something he couldn't do at school and it does seem a shame that not as many children have the chance to experience the outdoors in this way. The picture book version of the book certainly helps to show the students what a scout looks like, and Paul Howard's coloured illustrations certainly add to the book, but the humour of the novel has gone so I still prefer to read it. Look for both versions and the Berenstain Bear series of books has many that feature scouts as well.

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