The aim of Geography teaching here at St Michael’s C of E Primary School is to stimulate the children’s interest and understanding of their immediate location and develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant locations and the diverse culture in the world. The children gain a sense of identity, and a cultural understanding. Thus they learn to value their own and other people’s cultures in modern multicultural Britain and around the world.
At St Michael’s we believe that learning is a change in long term memory. We believe children learn best by having opportunities to revisit previous learning. Therefore, we teach geography termly, allowing children to build on their previous knowledge so that the children can fully immerse themselves and have opportunities to reflect and build on prior learning. Our long term plan allows each class to develop their prior learning from the previous year.
The objectives of teaching Geography in our school are:
- To develop contextual knowledge about diverse places, people, resources
- To develop a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes
- To understand how Britain is part of a wider European culture, and to study some aspects of European geography
- To be competent in the geographical skills needed to; collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data
- To interpret a range of sources which show geographical information
- To communicate geographical information in a variety of ways including writing at length
- To gain experiences of fieldwork that deepen the children’s experiences of geographical process
As a school we want to:
- To develop a curriculum which promotes progress and understanding for each child.
- To develop geographical knowledge and conceptual understanding through the objectives in the national curriculum including: locational knowledge, place knowledge, human and physical features and geographical skills and fieldwork.
- To develop a curriculum which allows children to develop geographical skills.
- To develop cultural capital to give our students the vital background, knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our communities.
- To give children experiences in a range of topics
- To provide links with our local and wider community to make learning relevant and purposeful
- To give children appropriate experiences to develop as confident, aspirational citizens;
- To provide links with our local and wider community to make learning relevant and purposeful;
- To provide a coherent and structured curriculum that blends skills and knowledge.
Our Geography curriculum design is based on principles derived from evidence through cognitive science:
- Learning is most effective with spaced repetition.
- Retrieval of previously learnt content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.
In addition to the principles, we also understand that learning is invisible in the short term and that sustained mastery takes time.
Our content is subject specific. We make intra-curricular links to strengthen schemas. Reading, writing, speaking and listening skills are further promoted in Geography. Within each topic, a ‘Big Write’ is completed reflecting upon scientific knowledge. This is not necessarily a standalone genre of writing but may be a conclusion or evaluation within a lesson.
Skills and Techniques
As well as learning the geographical skills required for their fieldwork; vocabulary, locations, descriptions and facts, the children will also learn key skills for life:
- Safety related to land use
- Asking perceptive questions
- Critical thinking
- Collect and analyse data
- Apply mathematical skills when analysing data
These techniques are repeated throughout the years, so that the children can build upon and refine their skills in each area. These skills are also transferrable, meaning our children can apply them to other subject areas and which will stand them in good stead later in life.
In the Early Year Foundation Stage, Geography makes a significant contribution to developing a child’s knowledge and understanding of the world, through activities such as looking at similarities and differences in relation to places and looking at features of their own immediate environment. This is enhanced further by outdoor learning, where children use their own curiosity to explore and investigate the world around them.
Throughout KS1 and KS2 children will have the opportunity to make links with other topics like such as using their knowledge of human features in the North East of England within a design and technology project to create a structure or model of the Angel of the North. In some studies, outdoor learning will be a pathway to teach from; such as locational studies and identifying human and physical features. In KS1 we will use our school grounds to teach some our studies and in KS2 we aim to investigate our wider location through fieldwork.
In addition to our Geography lessons, children are given the opportunity to participate in Forest Schools, as a timetabled opportunity in EYFS and as an after-school club for KS1 and KS2. Throughout the year the children will have, access to events ran by external companies as well as visits into school from external companies. Children will enjoy school trips off site that will allow them to develop their fieldwork skills as well as their locational knowledge.
The intended impact of our geography curriculum is that children build knowledge, make connections between this knowledge and use it to explore and create. The children will have a sound understanding of Geography in the world around them and gain a rich cultural capital. They will be given the opportunity to develop geographical skills, which they will continue to develop and practice throughout their whole school journey.
Long Term Planning
Please see our Whole School Long Term planning to see what our pupils will be learning each year.
Here are some of the geographical activities and events the children have enjoyed;
To find out more about what the children are learning in our Forest School, please visit the Forest School page.