‘The Heartstone Odyssey’ project follows out of the book which is centred on a female heroine, Chandra, and documents her quest to overcome intolerance, prejudice and racism in collaboration with her allies – the mice.
The project described here was for school children in Years 5,6 and 7. The story combines fantasy with real locations and history and allows discussion of difficult issues comfortably within the setting of a classroom. Children explored how they would deal with racism / incidents of intolerance that they encounter from any perspective and background.
Participant teachers underwent a two-day Philosophy for Children Level 1 training, and received further support through surgeries to address any pedagogical issues that arise, as well as aiding teachers to hone their practice.
The purpose of those sessions were to involve teachers and their children in meta-cognitive conversations around the stimulus, in this case The Heartstone Odyssey. Rather than being passive learners receiving instruction without questioning, children were invited to think about and around the book considering bigger questions and deepening their critical literacy skills.
The project culminated in an exhibition of the children’s work, held at City Hall from 15th – 30th June.