One of our intents as a school is to encourage pupils to be inquisitive and curious about the world around them. Geography is the perfect platform for that. It is an exciting and dynamic subject that enables pupils to understand the world, its people, places and environments, and the interactions between them. It helps pupils to understand how and why places are continually changing, what places are like, and why and how they are all connected. It teaches pupils to learn how to be respectful, responsible, caring and considerate members of the local, national and global community. These life skills are not something that can always be assessed in class, however pupils’ enthusiasm and thirst to understand the world they live in is apparent. Their excitement when they see a world map displayed on the corridor and learn the name of a new sea or country is contagious, as is their enthusiasm when they see or learn something new during a school trip. As a school, we have looked to celebrate our ‘wider world’ by looking at all the marvellous places our pupils and teachers have visited. Each time someone has been on holiday abroad, we ask them to fill in a postcard. The postcard tells us which place, country and continent the person has been to, as well as what the weather was like and what they did there. It has been amazing to see how far our Livingstone family has travelled. Pupils are also encouraged to develop a curiosity about how wonderful our earth is through a display showing world records. Facts about the highest mountain, biggest hailstone, most populated city, longest river etc are shown to help feed pupils inquisitiveness about our world.
Our Geography Curriculum
All our Geography topics are planned around the national curriculum themes of: geographical skills and fieldwork, place knowledge, locational knowledge, human geography and physical geography. Children begin to learn about Geography in EYFS in their Understanding of the World topic. In Nursery they start to develop their understanding of human geography through play with small-world models such as farms and train tracks. They learn about different forms of travel and how we can get to different areas in the world. They go on to begin to develop an understanding of their place knowledge by looking at their own environment - the area they live in and how it may be different to other places. Pupils learn about landmarks familiar to them in their local area . They start to look at key geographical vocabulary such as place names and buildings and hear stories about places and journeys. In terms of physical geography pupils are encouraged to notice changes in the weather and learn about seasons.
In Reception, pupils begin to be introduced to simple geographical skills. They look at basic maps to be able to identify the sea, land, place names and other simple features. They start to learn simple directions such as forwards and backwards and use arrows to show which way that need to go. They also create their own map of a familiar environment and learn the term ‘birds eye view’. Their knowledge of human geography begins to develop as pupils learn about the different countries family members may come from and understand that different countries may have a different way of life. In physical geography, pupils look in depth at autumn and spring and the simple changes that occur in the environment due to the changes in the weather. Pupils also have weekly forest school sessions to enable them to develop an inquisitive and positive relationship with the natural world from a young age and encourage a responsibility for nature conservation in later life.
In KS1 and 2, the curriculum is carefully planned so that pupils continue to build on these key aspects from the national curriculum and further develop their geographical skills. Through each year group, key geographical skills are taught and developed such as map reading, 4 and 6 figure grid references, use of a compass, using maps, atlases, globes and digital technologies, scale drawings and fieldwork. Pupils are taught three important geographical techniques: identify, describe and explain. These techniques are built on through out KS1 and KS2. Pupils’ knowledge of the human and physical world is also developed through-out the key stages as pupils study a range of exciting topics including rainforests, biomes, coastal regions, volcanoes, earthquakes, rivers, types of energy and land use changing over time.