Rationale for the teaching of Geography
Geography teaching in the Primary School is about developing an understanding of our world, primarily through experience, investigation and learning from primary and secondary sources. 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.
Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments.
At St Anne’s we encourage all pupils to create and foster a sense of wonder about the world. Through our teaching and learning, children gain knowledge and understanding on places in the world and develop their understanding of other cultures. This enables children to develop respect and understanding of what it means to be a positive citizen in a multi-cultural world. Inspiring a sense of responsibility the children develop an appreciation of what ‘global citizenship’ means. They know and understand environmental problems at a local, regional and global level and understand their part to play in the world in which they live.
Geography helps children to learn how things came about, and gives a sense of wonder at the earth’s variety and order. It helps to develop self-awareness and relationships with other cultures and environments. Their work on the changing landscape and environmental issues leads children to ask questions about the evolution of the planet, and gives an appreciation of natural features.
How we teach and learn Geography at St Anne’s
Geography units are planned and taught within the whole school Creative Curriculum. Each year, a Creative Curriculum theme will allow Geography to be a part of its focus. The teaching of geography in the Foundation Stage is ongoing. We plan the topics in geography so that they build upon prior learning and show progression as children move up through the school.
Children of all abilities have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit and, through planned progression we offer them an increasing challenge as they move up the school. Planning activities to extend children as required.
We teach geography in EYFS as an integral part of the Creative Curriculum carried out during the year. We relate the geographical aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five. Geography makes a significant contribution to the ELG objectives of developing a child’s ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’ through activities such as exploring our school and local area, finding safe places to play around our school and looking at different kinds of homes and habitats.
We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our geography lessons, and we combine these with enquiry-based research activities. We encourage children to ask as well as answer geographical questions. We offer them the variety of problem-solving activities. Wherever possible, we involve the children in ‘real’ geographical activities, e.g. research of a local environmental problem or use of the Internet to investigate a current issue. Opportunities to use a variety of data, such as maps, statistics, graphs, pictures, and photographs are provided and we enable the children to use computing skills in geography lessons where this serves to enhance their learning. Children also take part in role-play and discussions, and present reports to the rest of the class.
Fieldwork is integral to good geography teaching and we include as many opportunities as we can to involve children in practical geographical research and enquiry. This may involve use of the outside environment including the outside classrooms, sensory garden, school field and forest school area as well as the locality. When appropriate it could involve a school trip.
How we celebrate our Geography learning
We assess the children’s work in geography by making informal judgements as we observe the children during lessons. Once the children complete a piece of work, we mark and comment as necessary. Children are given time to respond to our comments.
Work is celebrated through class and whole school exhibitions which open to the wider school community