Geography at St Louis Primary School
Intent (the knowledge and skills that pupils will gain at each stage through the curriculum)
At St Louis, we follow the National Curriculum aims and content for geography, and agree with the purpose of study: ‘A high quality geography education should inspire a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.’
At St Louis, it is our intent to link Geography to other aspects of the children’s learning and provide all pupils with the knowledge to understand the fast developing world we live in.
We will equip all of the children with an understanding of diverse places, people, resources and physical and human environments.
We have a high ambition for pupils to grow their knowledge and geographical skills such as fieldwork, and to develop a deep understanding of the key physical and human processes, as they progress through the school.
EYFS: Building Good habits
We aim for children in EYFS to build the good habit of having curiosity of the world around them through the specific area of learning, Understanding the World. We guide them to make sense of their physical world and their community. This happens through reading stories, visiting places in our local community and through the use of our outdoor area in school. They are introduced to geographical resources such as simple maps and globes, and begin to learn about the weather by making observations. Other aspects of geography are built into everyday play, for example the use of simple directional language (forwards, backwards, side to side) when navigating the outside area on trikes and bikes.
For more detail see the EYFS Curriculum Overview
KS1: Journey of Discovery
KS1 are introduced to the four key areas of the geography curriculum: locational knowledge, place knowledge, human and physical geography and geographical skills and fieldwork. Pupils will follow on from EYFS by developing their understanding of their locality, specifically the location of St Louis School and will be introduced to simple fieldwork and map skills through their exploration of the school site. They learn about the United Kingdom and surrounding seas through the topic Queen, Crown and Countries. They begin to learn more about the wider world through the topic Amazing Africa, with a specific focus on Kenya.
Children are introduced to geographical vocabulary to describe human and physical features of the places they study. They also understand that hot and cold counties are determined by their proximity to the Equator and North and South Poles.
The geography units are introduced to the children through books, videos and where possible, first hand experiences, allowing them to relate their learning to real life.
Each unit is broken into ‘building blocks’ and an overall outcome which is detailed in the Geography Overview.
KS2: Broadening Horizons
Pupils in KS2 will continue to master their knowledge in the main four aspects of the Geography curriculum introduced at KS1.
An understanding of the world is gained through in depth studies: North America and the USA (Route 66), UK and the Lake District, Europe and Greece (Groovy Greeks), South America and Peru (Paddington and Peru) and Europe and Russia (The House with Chicken Legs).
Learning is placed in context and linked with learning in other areas where appropriate in order to help the knowledge ‘stick’. Therefore, knowledge of their locality and the UK, as well as fieldwork skills and map work, are developed in a unit linked to their local study in history, The Terrible Tudors. Links are also made with map work of the school in KS1, as more detail is introduced through more compass points and four and six-figure grid references.
Pupils gain a deeper understanding of the wider world through explorations of key aspects of human and physical geography. This is also linked to other areas of the curriculum if appropriate. For example, pupils learn about the concept of biomes in depth as deserts and rainforests, linked to the history units, Funky Pharaohs and Marvellous Mayans.
As pupils learn about different areas of the world, links are made with previous learning and concepts built upon. For instance, pupils build on their KS1 knowledge of hot and cold countries and their proximity to the Equator and Poles, as they learn about the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, and how location can affect climate zones. The water cycle is also revisited in order to embed the knowledge into the long term memory. It is introduce in the Y4 unit of the UK and Lake District, and then revisited in the Rainforest aspect of the Marvellous Mayan unit in Y6.
Each unit is broken into ‘building blocks’ and an overall outcome which is detailed in the Geography Overview. As pupils progress through the school, there is the expectation they will draw on previous learning to make links and add detail when producing the outcomes to a unit.
Implementation (how the curriculum developed or adopted by the school is taught and assessed in order to support pupils to build their knowledge and to apply that knowledge as skills)
Geography is taught in unit blocks across the school and linked to other areas of the curriculum if appropriate.
Pupils are given the opportunity to share what they may already know through the use of a mind map at the start of a unit. They then demonstrate all the knowledge they have gained over the course of a unit by creating an updated mind map at the end.
An overview of the knowledge and vocabulary pupils should acquire in each unit, is shared with them through knowledge organisers. These are stuck in books after the initial mind map and referred to at the start of each lesson in an effort to embed knowledge into the long term memory, allowing children to apply it with confidence.
Each unit introduces pupils to the unit to be taught, teaches them the knowledge they need to reach the milestones set out, and allows opportunities to demonstrate and apply what they have learnt.
Teachers assess pupils’ work against the ‘building blocks’ and outcomes expected as set out in the Geography Overview.
They also use assessment for learning throughout the unit. This takes the use of knowledge organisers and low stakes quizzes at the start of each lesson, recapping prior learning. It also included pupil’s responses in lessons, both written and oral.
Impact (the outcomes that pupils achieve as a result of the education they have received)
The impact of the teaching of geography can be ascertained in a number of ways.
Firstly, the work in pupils’ books should reflect the learning that has taken place over the course of a unit, and from year group to year group, demonstrating progress and a deepening knowledge over time. Mind maps at the end of a unit should contain more information that at the start, as pupils are able to recall the learning they have accumulated over the course of the unit.
Secondly, pupils’ should be able to talk with confidence about their learning, and use subject specific vocabulary where appropriate. As pupils progress through the school, they should become increasingly confident at making links with prior learning.
Finally, lesson visits should demonstrate the learning that is taking place. This would include pupils’ being able to answer questions based on their knowledge organisers and their ability to recall prior learning and apply it in their work.