At Onslow Infant school, geography provides a means of exploring, appreciating and understanding the world in which we live. We aim to inspire in our children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people and for all the children to work as geographers. Our aim is to fulfil the requirements of the national curriculum, providing a broad and balanced geographical curriculum, ensuring the development of geographical concepts, knowledge and skills, and for the children to develop a love of geography through an enquiry based approach. EYFS aim for all children to achieve the ‘Understanding the World’, People Culture and Communities early learning goal by the end of the academic year. We build upon the children’s personal geography by developing geographical skills, understanding and knowledge through studying places and themes. They learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of enquiry, research, observation, investigation, analysis and problem-solving.
The above curriculum intent is embedded within our geography curriculum. Starting with the relevant geographical part of the early learning goal and the subject content outlined in the National Curriculum Programme of Study for Key Stage 1, we have developed a curriculum map which ensures coverage and progression across the key stages.
In the foundation stage our youngest children embark on understanding the world through investigating personal places. The children are encouraged to share their experiences, observations and knowledge, develop skills of investigation, and ask and answer questions, thus awakening a curiosity to want to find out more about the wider world.
Geography continues in Key Stage 1, primarily through topic-based learning. Through this, the children can engage and become fully immersed in the topic, making it easier to remember what is being taught and thus embed key learning, knowledge and skills. Subject specific vocabulary is introduced at appropriate times and linked to topics, so that children can gain an understanding of the geographical language used, in a concrete and meaningful way. Lessons are planned with engaging activities and resources, which will be used to achieve the required national curriculum objectives. Each Geography lesson will begin by revisiting and consolidating previous learning, ensuring a firm foundation upon which to build. To encourage geographical enquiry, we often pose a question to investigate or a problem to solve. The children must then use their geographical skills and knowledge to find the solution or answer. It is our aim to ensure learning is accessible to all. With skilful guidance, modelling, clear explanations, and scaffolding of tasks the children become successful, happy geographers. Where appropriate, activities are adapted to suit different abilities, learning needs and styles.
Each year group has a dedicated outdoor space and carefully thought out geographical activities linked to the weekly learning objectives are available outside during the day. Fieldwork is an important part of the geography curriculum at Onslow and is planned within the curriculum to engage and stimulate the children to enquire about the world around them. Children experience geographical enquiry based learning activities within the classroom, school grounds, the local environment, school visits further afield and during weekly woodland sessions.
We use a variety of ways to find out what the children know. At the start of each lesson the subject title is discussed, e.g. “Now we are learning geography, what is this?”, and prior learning is recapped and assessed to ascertain what the children know and remember from previous sessions. We randomly select children, but also target individuals to answer questions and make observations during the session and ask the children to explain their thinking. We encourage the children to talk - in pairs, small groups or through class discussion, to share ideas, experiences or suggestions, and comments are noted. Some children may record pictorially, with the adult scribing the child’s ideas. We make links to previous topics/skills covered to assess if the children have remembered previous learning and if they understand how these are relevant to current learning. We also collect photographic evidence using Tapestry where we can also link evidence to curriculum strands and key skills.
For Early Years, we consider the intended learning taken from the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and assess if children are working at or below the expected level. For KS1, the same applies in line with the National Curriculum for geography. This information is shared with teachers during yearly handover meetings to ensure gaps in learning are addressed.
Monitoring in geography includes lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil voice interviews/questionnaires in order to ascertain correct curriculum coverage, the quality of teaching and learning as well as the children's attitudes to learning in geography. This information is then used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.