BOOKS: The Albert Schweitzer Activity Book

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1993:

The Albert Schweitzer Activity Book:
curriculum guide for grades 1-6. Albert
Schweitzer Center (50 Hurlburt Road, Great Barrington,
MA 01230). 1992, 40 pages, $5.00 paper; $10 with
28-minute video, The Spirit of Albert Schweitzer.
Albert Schweitzer’s life and philosophy of service
are presented as a teaching tool to instill in children a sense
of responsibility to the earth and to life, through simple,
almost cost-free activities which lead into community
involvement. Schweitzer’s biography is linked to ways chil-
dren can act to deal with and thus be less frightened by
some of the major problems of today: AIDS, the homeless,
pollution, dwindling resources, animal suffering, and the
quest for meaning and purpose to life in a cynical time.
Included are versions of the Golden Rule as taught by nine
major religions.

Public schools find themselves with too many
“must-use” items, so for them The Albert Schweitzer
Activity Book is probably something to put on the “enrich-
ment” table, for use by student teachers, volunteers,
etcetera, with the rapid finishers, gifted, or however else
the more advanced students may be designated. But it could
be more effectively used if someone could read aloud to
older educationally disadvantaged children this story of a
man who would surely have become their friend. Then the
educationally disadvantaged students could choose from the
book satisfying ways for them to address issues which cause
them as much concern as anyone, but which they do not
often get to help remedy.
Private schools have less rigid programming, and
should welcome The Albert Schweitzer Activity Book as a
neat way to promote values. The format makes it ideal for
religious education classes, which are often very heteroge-
nous; or for the provider of summer daycare, or volunteers
who lead dens, packs, etcetera, and must with little train-
ing come up with projects that are meaningful, productive,
noncontroversial, and ready to use without hours of leader
preparation. Finally, The Albert Schweitzer Activity Book
would fit well into the emergency kit every substitute
teacher has for days when no lesson plans are provided for a
class of unknown abilities and interests.
––Phyllis S. Clifton
[Phyllis Clifton taught during parts of six decades,
in a variety of urban, suburban, rural, well-to-do, middle-
class, and impoverished environments.]
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