Our aim is to provide a high quality, engaging Geography curriculum, to inspire our children to develop a curiosity and fascination about their world and the people in it, which will remain with them long beyond their time at St Chad’s. We want to promote children’s interest and understanding of diverse places, people and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Our broad and balanced curriculum is designed to build on previous learning and to ensure the progressive development of geographical concepts, knowledge and skills; enabling the children to develop a love for geography. We want our children to acquire this knowledge and skills, not just through experiences in the classroom, but alongside enriching fieldwork and educational visits. Through our teaching, we intend to provoke thought, challenge thinking and give opportunities to apply knowledge and skills to insightful questions which will enable them to gain a greater understanding and knowledge of their local environment, the world and their place within it. Our fully inclusive, bespoke curriculum exposes all children to this teaching, therefore cementing our ethos of ‘no child left behind.’
Geography at St. Chad’s begins in EYFS. In early years, we nurture children’s understanding of the world through exploring and developing curiosity, appreciation, care and respect for the natural environment and living things. Also, by learning that there are different countries in the world, progressing to looking at their similarities and differences, and being able to draw information from simple maps, young children start to understand that there is a world beyond the classroom.
The key knowledge, concepts and skills learnt in EYFS are built upon in Key Stage 1. In Key Stage 1, children continue to develop their sense of place within the world by exploring the UK and comparing this with an African country. They also investigate hot and cold areas of the world, identify the world’s continents and oceans and explore the seaside. Fieldwork skills continue to progress from EYFS, as children develop their map reading and map drawing skills and locational language. They can then apply these fieldwork skills when studying the geography of our school and its surrounding environment.
In Key Stage 2, our children gain a greater understanding of the world around them by learning about other countries within Europe, North America and South America. Their knowledge of the UK progresses from Key Stage 1 as they learn about its geographical regions, land use and key physical and human features. Children’s understanding of our local area and how it has changed over time is also explored further in Key Stage 2. Children are encouraged to ask questions, collect and analyse data and evaluate their geographical enquiry when progressing through Key Stage 2. Digital maps skills are introduced in Key Stage 2 as children have the opportunity to explore our local area, the UK and the wider world on Digimaps.
In ensuring high-quality standards of teaching and learning in Geography, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school with teachers planning engaging lessons, mirroring our progression of knowledge and skills document covering: locational knowledge, place knowledge, human and physical geography, and geographical skills and fieldwork. Geography is taught as either a half-termly or termly topic, focusing on the statutory requirements in the National Curriculum. Each geography lesson starts with a retrieval practice activity to ensure children’s learning is continuously revisited and is stored in their long-term memory. Retrieval practice questions also ensures teachers can address misconceptions and it enables our children to make connections between the geographical topics that they have learnt. Knowledge acquisition is also assessed at the end of the whole topic when children complete a Topic Knowledge Wall quiz. In each geography lesson, we also use ambitious and subject-specific language. Key words are introduced or recapped at the start of each lesson. To ensure children are confident with the geographical skills that they are learning, a skills mat is also referred to at the start of each lesson.
Our Geography teaching focuses on enabling children to think as geographers. At the heart of our Geography curriculum is the use of deep thinking questions as lesson drivers, which underpin each area of learning. These deep-thinking questions allow children to reflect critically on the knowledge and skills they have acquired and make deeper connections, identify patterns, summarise information, and identify influences and impact on the world.
We further enhance their opportunities through fieldwork and educational visits. Children explore the local area investigating the physical and human features of our environment as well as developing skills, including map skills around our school grounds and the local area. They visit other areas in the UK such as the Year 4 residential stay at Laches Wood and the Year 6 residential stay at Standon Bowers. Educational visits and residentials are fully inclusive and measures can be put in place to ensure that those with SEND can participate in these activities. To ensure children are engaged and inspired during a topic, children will be able to experience a ‘WOW day’. Children are also encouraged to learn about geography at home by completing their geography task on their half termly learning log.
By the end of their primary education at St Chad’s, our children are passionate learners of geography who are curious about the world and want to explore it further. Our children are able to articulate and demonstrate in their books, that they have developed the geographical knowledge and skills to help them explore, navigate and understand the world around them and their place in it. Children’s knowledge and skills will develop progressively as they move through the school, not only to enable them to meet the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum but to build on a deeper understanding to prepare them to become competent geographers in secondary education and to deal with, and understand, the rapidly changing world in which they will be living.