At Devoran, we aim to provide a high-quality geography education that 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 equips 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. 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.
In EYFS, children learn a whole range of highly transferable skills values and attributes (including: problem-solving, observation, collaboration, open-mindedness, courage, resilience, curiosity, integrity, and a sense of what is fair and equitable) that combine to allow them to explore and interpret the world around them within their ‘understanding the world’ topic. When providing a context for learning there is invariably a spatial dimension at a practical level, with teachers setting up learning zones such as a ‘mud kitchen’, ‘role-play area’ or ‘creation station’. These enable pupils to transport themselves at an imaginary level, with these areas in effect acting as portals into the spaces, places and times within each pupil’s imagination, allowing them to construct their own individual and collaborative learning story.
In Key Stage 1 and 2, we have outlined three ‘aspects of achievement’ for Geography where we can monitor the delivery and progression of the Geography skills and knowledge taught. These are:
- Contextual world knowledge and locations, places and geographical features;
- Understanding of the conditions, processes and interactions that explain features, distribution patterns, and changes over time and space; and
- Competence in geographical enquiry, and the application of skills in observing, collecting, analysing, evaluating and communicating geographical information.
An enquiry approach promotes the active involvement of students in reconstructing geographical knowledge. This contrasts with a transmission approach to classroom practice in which the teacher ‘delivers’ geographical knowledge to be learnt rather than investigated and in which students adopt a relatively passive role in respect of knowledge construction. It is similar, but subtly different to, the ‘sandwich’ approach used for History – where the top layer is an overarching enquiry questions, the middle layer is a where the knowledge and understanding of geography is developed and the bottom layer is where the children communicate their learning back. The subtle difference from History comes when applying geographical fieldwork. When students carry out fieldwork enquiry they usually follow a sequential process in which they identify questions to investigate, collect data first hand and study the data to reach conclusions. This is opposed to gathering information from primary / secondary sources. Geography has a more ‘hands on’ approach. At Devoran, we aim for each year group to have, at least, one geographical fieldwork topic.
Outcomes in Geography books, and in other subjects such as Literacy, evidence a broad and balanced geography curriculum and demonstrate children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge relating to each of the identified national curriculum strands, as appropriate to key stage; locational knowledge, place knowledge and human and physical geography. This is in addition to the development and application of key skills, supported by fieldwork.
As children progress throughout the school, they develop a deep knowledge, understanding an appreciation of their local area and its place within the wider geographical context.
Moreover, we hope that the Geography curriculum that we provide challenges the children in the following areas:
- Experience the environment beyond the classroom
- Relate classroom work to the real world-‘from the 2D textbook to the 3D world’
- Develop their knowledge, understanding and respect for the environment
- Encourages investigation, questioning and critical thinking
- Encourages students to think spatially and use maps
- Develop the students’ ability to deal with uncertainty
- Provide challenge for the student and the opportunity to taste acceptable levels of risk
- Create opportunities for the student to be creative and to have personalised outcomes, which gives them a sense of ownership of the learning process
- Support student momentum and enjoyment of geography
- Build on relationships with school staff through shared experiences and a concentrated experience.