“A high quality history education will help pupils to gain knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past and how it has impacted their life in today’s world. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups”
At New Milton Infant School, children enter into a rich dialogue with the past as they establish substantive historical knowledge and the disciplinary skills of a historian simultaneously. Young historians are made and nurtured during inviting and exciting lessons that are accessible for all. They will feel a sense of ‘awe and wonder’ about the past and develop an understanding of how the past has influenced the world today.
The teaching of history is underpinned by our school’s vision and values. Through discussions about the past, children consider how respect, aspiration and perseverance are present in historical events and in the lives of significant individuals in our history.
We see history as a construct and we have developed a history curriculum that allows children to build on and progress in the substantive knowledge that they have learnt previously. The topics chosen link chronologically and conceptually, providing children with a broader and deeper understanding of the past - one layer of knowledge will later accelerate children’s understanding of another. They will be introduced to aspects of our past that they will continue to encounter through their history education in a range of different contexts, such as the concepts of ‘power/monarchy’ and ‘legacy’. Being introduced to these concepts in their early history education will help support their historical understanding in Key Stage 2 and beyond. Children also progress in their disciplinary skills as they move through the school, developing their knowledge of chronology and other historical concepts such as cause and consequence and significance.
In Key Stage One, long-term and short-term overviews are created to support planning, clearly setting out the historical knowledge, skills and understanding that our children will be developing during each topic.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage children start their history journey as they follow the Understanding the World element of their curriculum.
Children begin to understand the past in Year R by:
- Talking about members of their immediate family and community.
- Commenting on images of familiar situations in the past.
- Comparing and contrasting characters from stories, including figures from the past.
The role of the adult is to inspire and guide the children into understanding the concept of ‘the past’ and ‘now’. Children are introduced to the past through people, objects and situations that are familiar to them. This learning runs intrinsically as they follow the Early Years curriculum, exploring the past both during adult-led tasks and continuous provision.
Through these activities they will develop a foundational knowledge of our history that will support them in their future learning. Children’s Characteristics of Effective Learning development will support them in their later historical enquiries. They will also encounter historical concepts when discussing familiar situations in the past and present e.g. a special time (significance), different points of view (interpretation) and changes to routines (cause and consequence).
All Key Stage 1 pupils follow a program of historical study informed by the National Curriculum. Children will learn about:
- Significant events within and beyond living memory.
- Lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements.
- Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality
In Key Stage 1, history is taught through historically based units of work. They learn to gather and process information, draw conclusions, refine their thinking and demonstrate their understanding in a variety of imaginative ways. Our lessons are practical and multi-sensory, allowing all children to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding.
Children construct a deep, substantive knowledge of the past by exploring the following:
- Where people and events fit within a chronological framework
- Characteristic features of period, person or events, including similarities and difference between different periods.
- Change and continuity within the past.
- Cause and consequence including how past events have changed national life and impacted the children’s lives today.
- Significance of historical events, people and places.
- How elements of the past can be interpreted in different ways.
We see history as a process of enquiry. Lessons are based around an enquiry question, allowing our young historians to organise their historical knowledge and use their skills. To support their understanding and interest we use a range of multi-sensory teaching strategies and enrichment opportunities that are suitable for all age and abilities. These include:
- Using visual aids such as video clips, photographs, illustrations and real objects e.g. fossils, artefacts (including borrowed museum artefacts). We aim to use a range of sources and evidence to help children to construct a picture of the past.
- Learning through experience- using drama, role play and storytelling to create immersive moments. This creates exciting and memorable experiences for the children (Great fire of London Drama Day).
- Use of the internet and books.
- Stories based on past people, events and key concepts.
- Trips and visitors- Sea City, St Barbe Museum, pupil’s relatives.
Teachers take into account children’s prior knowledge through a carefully planned and sequential curriculum, challenging children to reach their full potential and addressing misconceptions. Questioning during class discussions is used to extend children’s thinking and develop their understanding. Teachers model being a historian and help children develop their enquiry skills, supporting children in finding answers from historical sources. Children’s individual questions are encouraged and answered alongside their history lessons.
Children develop their communication skills and understanding and use of vocabulary relating to the passing of time during both key stages. Children are exposed to and encouraged to use historical vocabulary as they pursue a line of enquiry to support their understanding of new words. Historical language is modelled both verbally and visually through classroom display and visual prompts. Key vocabulary is progressive through the year groups, meaning that children are familiar with a variety of words relating to the passing of time by the time they finish Key Stage One.
At New Milton Infant School we aspire for all of our children make the best possible progress from their starting points in History, through an inclusive curriculum that provides challenge and engagement for all.
To ensure this, regular assessment occurs of the children’s substantive and disciplinary knowledge. Teachers apply assessment for learning strategies during lesson inputs, supporting them in becoming aware of children’s prior knowledge. Our historians are formatively assessed through observations and during a discussion with the teacher, allowing all children to show their historical knowledge, skills and understanding in their own way. This also compliments our school’s focus on developing the oracy skills of our young children. By assessing our children in this open-ended way, children are able to demonstrate their interpretation of the past and develop their enthusiasm for the subject. Assessment is easily and immediately recorded by teachers on specially designed pro-formas that allow multiple substantive and disciplinary objectives to be assessed at one time. Assessing in this way stops unnecessary marking of tasks, meaning that teachers can spend more time speaking with their children in the role of a fellow historian.
Children’s progress through the school is tracked and information is passed onto their next class teachers. This ensures that children always begin their history journey during a new school year at the correct starting point.
We love learning about the past at New Milton Infant School and we really enjoy watching our young historians grow in enthusiasm for the subject! Our engaging, practical lessons raise the profile of History in our school. It is our aim that children leave our school with an eagerness to discover more about the past and the knowledge, skills and understanding to support them as they continue their learning journey.