Fairy tale beginning for primary school law

Students at the University of Leicester’s School of Law have been teaching local primary school children about the law, using the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk.

The teaching sessions form part of a wider project by researchers from the university on children and their perception of the law, with a view to developing a new module on the topic.

The project also aims to develop children’s understanding of the law and bring home the message that justice is a force for good.

Using the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, 13 undergraduates visited primary schools to demonstrate the workings of the legal system asking children to form a jury to discuss criminal charges brought against Jack for theft and murder.

Third-year undergraduate Harriet Jones was involved in the project. She said: “We received some really interesting answers and it was great to see an insight into how the children believed the law was governed … Working with children and upon a voluntary basis in the local community really broadens your legal horizons beyond what you learn in the textbooks at university. It is great schemes like this that I feel can really help a good understanding of the law.”

Dawn Watkins, senior lecturer in law, added: “This first visit has helped us to gain an understanding of what the children know about law and where it comes from.  Working with the school, we hope to develop a programme that can be made available to other schools in Leicestershire. 

“Its aim is to develop the children’s ‘legal literacy’ so that they develop an understanding of the law as an empowering force in their lives.  At the same time, we hope to develop a new module, through which our students can become engaged in working within schools as a part of their degree studies.”  

Students from the University of Law are providing a free family law advice service in the North West (7 May 2013).