“A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.” (Back on track book)
Children are introduced to the role of a geographer and are provided with exciting opportunities to not only gain knowledge about the world around them but to develop the skills to support them in developing an understanding of space and place from the Early Years Foundation Stage through to the end of Key Stage 1.
An enquiry-based approach is at the centre of our sequentially planned Geography curriculum which is underpinned by our vision and values. The skill of forming and asking key questions about a place or topic is modelled by the class teacher and children progress to asking their own key questions in groups in Year 2. Children use fieldwork skills and a range of resources to gather the information they need to answer the key questions including atlases, photographs, books, people and ICT. This information allows them to develop their geographical knowledge.
Teachers gain an understanding of children’s prior knowledge and understanding through looking at previous assessment information or through observation and discussion, using this to inform their planning. Pupils that show high levels of understanding are prompted to make links within their geographical knowledge to explain why these changes happen. High quality teaching and learning opportunities are provided for the children within an ambitious and inclusive curriculum. All children of all backgrounds and abilities, including those with SEND and EAL are given the opportunity to make the best possible progress.
Children will show curiosity and understand what it is to be part of a wider community as they develop their sense of space and place within their locality. They will ‘travel’ to new places from their own locality using technology and real and virtual maps to support their understanding of space and compare and contrast features within their own and other environments.
At New Milton Infant School the teaching of geography should inspire in children curiosity and fascination for the world around them.
In Early Years Foundation Stage there is no specific learning for Geography, nderstanding the World. Children start their geography journey in Year R through Understanding the World by:
- Drawing information from a simple map (both of a familiar environment and that derived from a familiar story).
- Understanding that some places are special to members of their community.
- Recognising some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries. (Through the use of Paddington’s Postcards)
- Exploring the natural world around them and describing what they see, hear and feel whilst outside. (Early fieldwork)
- Recognising some environments that are different from the one in which they live.
- Understanding the effect of changing seasons on the natural world around them.
Children in EYFS will encounter these aspects of the Understanding the World strand of the EYFS curriculum through adult-led activities and continuous provision. Adults will support children in their geographical understanding by talking to children during their play, encouraging them to deepen their understanding through questioning when appropriate. They will also explore the natural environment further during weekly Forest Friday sessions, helping them to develop their early fieldwork skills. Children will develop a fascination for the world around them and begin to develop their independence as a geographer as they transition to Key Stage 1.
In Key Stage 1, geography is taught during a topic and over a series of weekly lessons. Each unit of work covers at least three out of the four curriculum strands to allow children to continuously experience the knowledge and skills of the curriculum. Children also experience geography by monitoring the weather daily through a class weather chart and identifying seasonal patterns during their longitudinal study. In Year One the longitudinal study monitors the seasonal change of the trees in the school environment and in Year Two the children monitor how the amount and species of minibeast change during the school year. This continuous exposure to geography allows children to segment and consolidate their learning of the geography curriculum.
Geographical knowledge should be acquired in lessons using skills and vocabulary. Each unit of work should encourage children to use the five following fundamental skills:
By teaching and encouraging children to use these skills with the relevant geographical vocabulary, children deepen their geographical understanding.
A series of lessons should begin with a hook to inspire children and then a key question to frame their geographical enquiry. Children then investigate using a variety of practical resources including maps, globes, atlases and technology such as Google Maps. Children should be then given opportunities to connect with the information they have obtained by using the five fundamental skills. The unit of work is then concluded and the key question is answered. Children’s individual questions about what they want to find out are also encouraged and recorded at the start of a topic, helping foster their independence as a geographer
Teachers take into account children’s prior knowledge, challenging children to reach their full potential and addressing misconceptions. To support their understanding and interest we use a range of multi-sensory teaching strategies that are suitable for all age and abilities.
Children are also invited to be geographers through the use of Paddington’s Postcards. During class assemblies children will explore the place Paddington is sending his postcard from using atlases, photographs and ICT such as Google Maps and Google Earth. These places will also marked on school map display to help further develop children’s understanding of space and place. During these assemblies, children will compare each new place with their own locality, further covering the relevant strands in both the EYFS and Key Stage One curriculums. These sessions will cover both human and physical geography as they look at the lives of children from each key place, as well as location, weather and key features.
Pupils’ progress in geography is assessed throughout each unit and these combined assessments contribute to an overall view of how well children are achieving in geography. This assessment is communicated to parents each year in the mid-year report.