Why we teach Geography
Our Geography curriculum helps 'prepare young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding to make sense of their world and to face the challenges that will shape our societies and environments at the local, national and global scales.’ (Gardner, 2009)
How we teach Geography
Our Curriculum Drivers in Geography
In Geography, we learn about how people have shaped the environment they live in including: different types of settlement, land use and economic activity. We also find out about natural resources such as energy, food and water and how they, together with climate, affect the way that humans live in different parts of the world.
Studying Geography inspires pupils to have a curiosity and fascination about the world that should remain with them for the rest of their lives. It will equip them 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. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the framework that explains how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped.
Pupils learn how and why human and physical changes occur in both positive and negative ways, for example: the development of settlements, the effect of earthquakes and volcanoes and of global warming.
Our Geography curriculum encourages children to develop enquiring and curious minds through a practical approach. Pupils are taught to investigate, compare, evaluate and analyse. Wherever possible, we aim to engage and excite children by taking geographical learning outside the classroom on field trips and into our school grounds. Through the use of technology, children are able to travel the world, albeit in a virtual way.
How our curriculum is structured
Our Geography curriculum follows the requirements of the EYFS Framework and the Key Stage 1 and 2 National Curriculum programme of study. These aim to help children gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of the world through four areas: locational knowledge, place knowledge, human and physical geography and geographical skills.
We have chosen nine key concepts of history to repeat throughout the curriculum. (In brackets, you will see other important related concepts.) In order to master the 'big ideas' of geography, and to secure deep learning over time, we revisit these regularly; this may be discretely, through making connections with another subject, or explicitly, through a Geography-focussed topic.
boundaries (continents, localities, nations)
cartography (atlases, directions, distance, Equator, latitude, longitude, North/South Pole, maps, scale, symbols)
change (adaptation, sustainability)
climate (climate change, climate zones, pollution, weather)
interdependence (economy, trade)
movement (migration, navigation, transport)
physical geography (biomes, bodies of water, tectonics, topography)
resources (energy, food supply, infrastructure)
settlements (population, rural areas, urban areas)
We also recognise the importance of vocabulary in supporting pupils to articulate more complex ideas and teach these systematically as part of each topic.
Children in the reception year start to learn about Geography as part of ‘Understanding the World’ when finding out about the local environment from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps. They begin to recognise that some environments in the UK and abroad are different to the ones in which they live, and understand some important changes and processes in the natural world around them, including the seasons.
Key Stage 1
In Key Stage 1 pupils develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and our local area. They understand basic subject specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills including first-hand observation. They learn and can locate the world’s seven continents and five oceans and the countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom. Pupils study the human and physical geography of a small area of the UK and contrast this with a place in a non-European country.
Key Stage 2
Pupils extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This includes the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. They are able to describe and understand key aspects of human and physical geography including: climate zones, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, the water cycle, types of settlement and land use, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food minerals and water. They learn to use maps, and atlases to locate countries and features using six figure grid references and are able to use fieldwork to observe, measure and record the human and physical features in the local area.