Multi-faith Activity Assemblies: 90+ Ideas for Primary Schools

Author(s) Peirce, Elizabeth
Publisher RoutledgeFalmer
Pages 258
Price 22.50
ISBN 041530359
Reviewed by Alan Brown
University College Worcester
Review published 1 December 2004

This is an excellent resource book; it is costly but worth every penny. There are a large number of assemblies from most of the major religious traditions in the UK grouped under eight themes: New Beginnings, Places of Worship, Friends, Festivals, Rites of Passage, Water Themes, Animals and Birds and Inspirational Leaders. There is also a chapter for teachers on background information on six religions, which contains helpful resource lists as well as guidance on pronunciation.

It is a book that should find its way into the primary school classroom never mind restricting its use to assemblies, as throughout the book there are a host of useful resources addresses and websites as well as an imaginative and creative range of ideas and activities. The title doesn't make quite clear, however, that the multi-faith assemblies provided do not jumble all the religions together in the assemblies in some form of mish-mash. Each assembly is from a distinct religion or tradition so confusion is avoided.

Multi-faith Activity Assemblies includes songs, stories and activities from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Some of the activities, while no doubt a useful vehicle for the 'whole school/class assembly' do, in fact, make very effective models for classroom teaching. The author draws attention to this and to the need to adapt the material she has so ably provided to meet the age, ability and interest of the pupils. If there is a weakness, and this is a rather grudging criticism, it is in the summaries of the religions, which are too brief to do justice to the religions themselves. This is a book, however, that should be on the shelves of all RE co-ordinators and in all staffrooms, regardless of the situation of the school. Elizabeth Peirce's book will support many teachers and students as they prepare their lessons and their assemblies.