We aim to inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. Our Geography curriculum is designed to impart knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and the 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 frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
We feel so fortunate to live in and enjoy this wonderful part of Kent with its vast range of human and physical features which can be easily explored locally. Here we believe that Geography should provide pupils with a powerful, alternative lens through which to see the world. We wish to inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people.
Our knowledge rich Geography Curriculum (Ark) allows pupils to understand and explore the relationship between the physical and human phenomena of our diverse world. By gaining this knowledge they can apply analysis, critical thinking, and exploration to understand how and why events occur and importantly their impact on natural and human environments. We will provide our pupils with opportunities to explore places and landscapes which otherwise they would not encounter or meaningfully understand. Through this engagement with the world, we aim to increase their care and compassion for the planet and its inhabitants and provide them with a stronger voice to discuss the issues that matter.
In Year 1 pupils begin their journey in Geography with a study of what is the familiar to them – the local area. They then move outwards to study the United Kingdom. Then in Year 2 outwards again to gain an overview of the world and the continents and oceans within it. Pupils then finish the year by studying a contrasting location to their own within Kenya, Africa. Through Key Stage 2, pupils develop their understanding of locations, places, processes and people. In Lower Key Stage 2, they use their knowledge of the UK to understand settlements and land use before exploring Europe, North and South America. Which includes the location and characteristics of a range of the most significant human and physical environments in the world; pupils learn about mountains, climate zones, biomes, rivers and rainforests. As well as gaining this knowledge there is the opportunity to explore three places in more depth and compare them to their own locality. In Upper Key Stage 2, pupils explore the human and physical characteristics of Asia and learn about natural disasters such as volcanoes and earthquakes. A case study of a natural disaster allows pupils to see the impact on both a place and the people within it. When looking at the world, pupils consider the global challenges faced in the movement of people, growing populations, the distribution of natural resources, fair trade and the impact of climate change. They will also discover what they can learn from different maps of the world, question how and why maps of the world are often distorted and the impact this can have on our own knowledge and perceptions.
Units are carefully scheduled so that they build on what has been taught before across History and Geography. For example, in Year 3, children look at the geography of Europe before learning about Ancient Greece. This locational knowledge helps in making connections and deepening understanding.
Ongoing knowledge acquisition will be a central feature of sessions as children work towards answering the Big Question through completing their end of unit essay. Recognising that working memory is weak, this knowledge will be broken down into small inter-connected chunks that will aid retention. The gradual memorisation over time enables children to think critically, develop their enquiry skills and solve problems. Our approach also recognises the importance of instant feedback – particularly important when knowledge is new.
Memory Workouts provide regular opportunities to assess the knowledge children have retained. Every lesson begins with a recap of prior knowledge and retrieval exercises are conducted on prior units of study. Knowledge organisers are used to support children in making connections, organising and retrieving information.
We understand that locational knowledge is vast and hard for children to retain. All classes have a map in their classroom which is referred to as a working wall in Geography but also is referred to in other subjects to make links and connections between subjects and disciplines. We also display UK and world maps in our KS1 and KS2 playground so children can refer and familiarise themselves with locations across the globe. Every class has a set of Atlases that children can access independently and during explicit teaching.
All units start with a Big Question. This question will be referred to throughout the unit as children acquire the knowledge to be able to then answer end at the end of the unit. The question also incorporates a philosophical dimension encouraging children to think for themselves and demonstrate their ability to critically evaluate evidence and develop their own opinions.
Every unit will also end with a quiz conducted using Plickers (a online program) which support teachers perform a gap analysis on what knowledge and vocabulary is 'sticky' and which knowledge will be a particular focus for retrieval sessions.
This impact will be measured through pupil voice, work scrutiny and learning walks. We will see pupils who are able to speak confidently and articulately about the natural world as well as humans’ role within it. The teaching of geography will be of a consistently high standard. Lessons will be interesting and pupil voice interviews will demonstrate that pupils are engaged with the subject.
Through our teaching of an engaging and contextualised geography curriculum, we want to foster a culture where children love geography. We want to build within them a curiosity about people and places that will enrich their understanding of the world around them, both within the school, and in their everyday lives. They will gain a rich and varied knowledge of the world.
Children across the school will be empowered and will understand the contributions they can make to both the local and global community.
We introduce children to the key strands of the geography curriculum through play and exploration. The development matters framework guides staff to provide age appropriate teaching and learning activities to develop children's understanding of ‘people and communities’ and ‘the world’. We ensure teachers and staff are aware of the opportunities to develop children's understanding of the world around them.
As with the rest of the school teachers in the foundation stage topics to identify opportunities to develop and extend children's understanding of the world around them. Teachers also consider how geographical links can be made during a unit of work such as talking about place or people and how these are similar or different to our own lives or location. Where possible children in the foundation stage are provided hands on experiential learning.
Understanding the world activities are built upon and developed through children's time in the foundation stage. Language used increasingly more challenging. Children have access to indoor and outdoor provision that encourages our children to question and wonder and adults are confident to scaffold and extend children’s early geographical ideas. Where appropriate Early Years are readying children for the concepts and strands they will encounter in Key Stage 1 and 2. Maps and globes are used to reference places and geographical features such as seas or oceans so children have experience of these words before their Key Stage One topics of work. Children learn about places around the world and understand that places have things that are different and the similar to support them when they study their locality and its features in Year 1 in more detail.