At Churchfields, we will provide children with an insight into their local environment and the world beyond and in doing so, create a love, passion and interest for the subject. Children will gain a deep understanding in many areas of geography, as outlined in the primary curriculum, 2014, that will enable them to understand the world around them. We believe that having a strong set of geographical skills will help children to make links and connections with the knowledge that they will be taught and in doing so, they will become well-rounded geographers.
Our geography curriculum also allows children to become independent, confident and inquisitive learners who can find information out for themselves and utilise resources such as maps and atlases. They will also become sophisticated and enlightened individuals in regards to the differences around our world and in other societies. As children progress through the school, we believe they will become aware and deepen their understanding of diverse parts of the world.
• Inform children about the world, starting with what is local to them in KS1 and branching out to the wider world in KS2. Ensuring children know about different cities, countries and the continents of the world.
• Inspire children about the world and the endless opportunities within geography that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
• Ensure children understand scale so that place/locational knowledge, along with the crucial knowledge, makes sense.
• Provide children with a deep knowledge about places, people and geographical features, both human and physical.
• Develop a growing knowledge and interest about the world to deepen children’s understanding of human and physical features and geographical events that take place.
• Geographical skills, such as map reading, will support and solidify the knowledge children have.
• All children understand their location in relation to the rest of the world.
• Provide children with copious opportunities to experience geography first-hand; offering educational visits as well as utilising the experiences and knowledge of professionals from the geographical world.
Summary of Curriculum Layout
From the EYFS through to Key Stage 1, children will primarily focus on their local area. We believe that starting locally with what is known to them, children will better understand geographical concepts and develop a strong foundation on which to build. Towards the end of Key Stage 1, children will branch out to look at the UK including capital cities and the waters surrounding here.
At the start of Key Stage 2, children will be introduced to more challenging concepts beyond their own experiences. They will look at Europe as a continent and then branch out from here as they progress through school until they have learnt about all of the continents and the world as a whole. It is also within Key Stage 2 that children will look at earthquakes, biomes, climate change and other such topics.
By the end of Key Stage 2, we believe children will have a broad understanding of geography matched with core skills such as map reading.
Within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), geography is inclusive within the Understanding the World section of the Development Matters document, 2012. The EYFS curriculum states that children need to:
• Observe, find out about, and identify features in the place they live and the natural world
• Begin to know about their own cultures and beliefs and those of other people
• Find out about their environment, and talk about those features they like and dislike.
Children in the EYFS will be provided with opportunities to explore, discuss and understand the world around them through different mediums such as books, first-hand experiences, teaching, discussions and people in the community. It is in the EYFS that children will be exposed to a great deal of vocabulary that they will then be able to use themselves and build on this with a greater level of understanding as they progress throughout school and life.
In Year 1, children have two topics that are split across the three half terms: ‘Maps and Fieldwork’ and ‘My Local Area’.
Maps and Fieldwork:
This is the children’s first topic in geography as it allows children to become familiar with the concept of geography through first-hand experiences and thinking about what they already know/ have seen. Children have ample opportunities to go outside and create their own maps, look at their own environment and understand that geography is all about people and places. Being able to create, understand and read maps is also a vital skill in geography and looking at this so early in the curriculum will serve as a great foundation for when children begin to look at maps of other areas that they are not familiar with, like the UK, for example.
My Local Area:
The second topic is ‘My Local Area’ as this again allows children to learn more about geography through experiences and what is already known to them. Children, like the first topic, have plenty of opportunities to go into their local area and learn about human and physical features. This topic also ensures children know their own place in the world, specifically, where our school is. We believe this is a vital piece of information to know when children are younger. It also gives children a focal point to continuously link back to when they begin to compare and contrast locations in future year groups.
In Year 2, children have three topics that are split across the three half terms: ‘Chesterton and Me (Revisit)’, ‘Chesterton and Other Places’ and ‘UK and Me’.
Chesterton and Me (Revisit):
This unit of learning allows children to ensure their knowledge on their local area is fully embedded and understood from year 1. Without this knowledge being secure, any further information will become hard to comprehend and have no meaning in regards to themselves. By recapping their own place in the world, children will forever know where they are and can link back to this.
Chesterton and Other Places:
Children now begin to branch out to other places and compare and contrast their own location to these. Children will look at the locations of Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool as these are major cities and places that children may heard of or visited. Children also start to understand the vocabulary related to place: village, town, city, country and capital city. By continuing to focus on places that may be know to children, the terminoplogy, vocabulary and knowledge will make sense and not be lost in the exposure of completely new places from around the world.
UK and Me:
The children branch out slightly further in this unit to expand their understanding to the whole of the UK. They look at the group of countries that make up the UK, the seas and oceans surrounding the UK and the concept of going on holiday and why people choose the places they do. Thus, children here start to utilise and apply their geographical knowledge to different places in the UK.
In Year 3, children have three topics that are split across the three half terms: ‘UK and Me (Revisit)’, ‘Rivers’ and ‘Tourism in Europe’.
UK and Me (Revisit):
This is the first unit of learning in year 3 as it allows children to ensure their knowledge on the UK is fully embedded and understood. By recapping the UK, children will forever have a focal point in which to compare on a map and in other geographical features such as climate and physical features. Similar to knowing their own place within the UK, knowing the location of the UK will help when looking at a whole world view, as it will be hard to locate a place as minisucle as Chesterton here. We have also seen that children who are not secure in their understanding of the UK, struggle when progressing through school to comprehend other concepts so it is important to be secure in this knowledge as early as possible.
This has been placed in year 3 as rivers are something children may have had experience with. They are not too complicated a concept to understand but still embeds and recaps on the understanding of physical geography. Children can also refer back to their previous knowledge by looking at the River Trent which is local to us and the River Thames in London, a place in which they learnt about in year 2.
Tourism in Europe:
Within this unit, Spain is the main country that children will learn more about as this links to the language studied in MFL lessons and is the most visited country by people from the UK, thus could be a country children have visited. The children branch out here to understand what a continent is. Europe is the first continent studied as this allows children to deepen their understanding of their place in the world.
In Year 4, children have three topics, which focus heavily on physical geography, that are split across the three half terms: ‘Extreme Earth: Volcanoes and Tectonic Plates’, ‘Extreme Earth: Earthquakes and Tsunamis’ and ‘Tropical Rainforests’.
Extreme Earth: Volcanoes and Tectonic Plates:
Children expand their understanding to the Americas in year 4. With South America in particular being home to a vast number of volcanoes, it makes sense to look at volcanoes as a unit of learning. Tectonic plates also fit here as this allows children to understand how our world is formed and the constant part-to-play tectonic plates have.
Extreme Earth: Earthquakes and Tsunamis:
Following their understanding of tectonic plates, children continue to learn about more physical features in earthquakes and tsunamis. This unit of learning will ensure children have embedded their understanding from the previous topic whilst expanding on this by deepening their understanding on the effects of moving tectonic plates. Within both this unit and the previous one, children will always link to a case study suitable to the continents of North and South America.
To complete year 4, children then learn about tropical rainforests – another physical feature of our world. With the Amazon Rainforest being in South America, it once again makes sense for children to learn about tropical rainforests in year 4. This unit also serves as an introduction to the concept of ecosystems and biomes that children learn more about in year 5.
In Year 5, children have three topics that are split across the three half terms: ‘Biomes’, ‘Africa: A Continent of Contrasts’ and ‘Fairtrade’.
Biomes is the first unit of learning in year 5 as it follows on from what the children learnt at the end of year 4. Thus, it serves as an excellent opportunity to recap previous knowledge whilst also building on it through the learning of other types of biomes around the world. In year 5, children also focus on the continent of Africa. As there are various biomes across Africa, this again allows children to learn about a geographical concept whilst simultaneously building their knowledge and understanding of places around the world.
Africa: A Continent of Contrasts:
This unit is vitally important as it helps to address the misconceptions that children and adults alike have about Africa. Children are more developed learners by this stage and so they have the capability of understanding, questioning and readdressing their thoughts and/ or the thoughts of peers. Within this unit, children will be able to look at both physical and human geography within Africa such as its climate and rural and urban areas.
This completes the topics of year 5 and follows on from their previous unit of learning. Children here can focus more on the human aspect of geography in Africa and link to the wider world through the focus on Fairtrade. With over 90% of Africa being a producer country for Fairtrade, studying it in year 5 makes sense. The concepts of imports and exports will be taught and allow children to see which countries within Africa trade certain items. This unit will also tie in with lots of previous learning from other year groups through concepts such as place, climate and mapwork.
In Year 6, children have two topics and a coursework-type task: ‘Mapping the World’, ‘Climate Change’ and ‘Putting It All Together’.
Mapping the World:
This links back to the very first unit of learning children did in year 1. However, by this stage, children will have seen ample maps of places from all around the world. Children should be able to recall where certain places are such as the UK, Spain and the continents of Africa and South America. However, in this unit, children can still extend their knowledge through looking at the world as a whole, learning about the oceans, all continents and the equator. Children will also be exposed to OS maps towards the end of the unit. These are hard to understand and navigate and so year 6 is the best year group to introduce these.
As this concept affects the whole world, year 6 is best suited for this unit. We have also found that looking at the causes and effects can become quite complex, thus even more reason for it to be placed in year 6. Children can use their knowledge of human and physical geography to split the causes into what has been caused by humans and what is natural.
Putting It All Together:
This coursework-like task allows children to show off their learning in geography from all year groups. Their task is to choose 3 different locations from around the world and compare and contrast them. Clearly, children will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of location and place, the weather and climate and human and physical features. This task is best suited for year 6 as they are able to sensibly and consciously choose 3 places from around the world and work independently to show off what they know.