“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty, the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.” Sir David Attenborough
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.
Children will learn about areas of significant geographical interest within their local area. In addition, they will learn about current topical geography such as the work of Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg.
They will also experience the following:
- Possible fieldwork opportunities within the local area including trips to a river or coast.
- Use of a computer to identify places in the world and understand their physical and human geography.
- Workshops with specialist geographers.
- Linking learning of other cultures and languages to their geographical location.
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.
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.
The knowledge and skills required to excel in this subject are set out in the geography progression document. This document has been created across the federation by the geography subject leads in partnership with the curriculum lead. Each member of teaching staff has access to the document as a supportive tool when planning in order to review previous learning; ensure a coherent curriculum outlining essential knowledge and skill development; and an accurate assessment tool.
In addition to our Geography lessons, children are given the opportunity to participate in Forest Schools, as a timetabled opportunity across the school. 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.
Please see our Whole School Long Term planning to see what our pupils will be learning each year.
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.
Here are a link to some useful geographical websites: