1 Aims and objectives
- At St Peter’s School we believe that Geography teaches an understanding of places and environments. Through their work in geography, children learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the world. They learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem-solving. Through their growing knowledge and understanding of human geography, children gain an appreciation of life in other cultures. Geography teaching also motivates children to find out about the physical world and enables them to recognize the importance of sustainable development for the future of mankind.
The aims of geography are:
- To enable children to gain knowledge and understanding of places in the world;
- To increase children’s knowledge of other cultures and, in so doing, teach a respect and understanding of what it means to be a positive citizen in a multi-cultural country;
- To allow children to learn graphic skills, including how to use, draw and interpret maps;
- To enable children to know and understand environmental problems at a local, regional and global level;
- To encourage in children a commitment to sustainable development and an appreciation of what ‘global citizenship’ means;
- To develop a variety of other skills, including those of enquiry, problem solving, ICT, investigation and how to present their conclusions in the most appropriate way.
2 Teaching and learning style
- We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our geography lessons. We believe in whole-class teaching methods and we combine these with enquiry-based research activities. We encourage children to ask as well as answer geographical questions. We offer them the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as maps, statistics, graphs, pictures, and aerial photographs, and we enable them to use ICT in geography lessons where this serves to enhance their learning. Children take part in role-play and discussions, and they present reports to the rest of the class. They engage in a wide variety of problem-solving activities. Wherever possible, we involve the children in ‘real’ geographical activities, e.g. research of a local environmental problem or use of the Internet to investigate a current issue.
We recognise the fact that there are children of widely different geographical abilities in all classes and we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child.
3 Geography curriculum planning
- We use the national scheme of work for geography as the basis for our curriculum planning. We have adapted the national scheme to the local circumstances of our school, i.e. we make use of the local environment in our fieldwork and we also choose a locality where the human activities and physical features provide a contrast to those that predominate in our own immediate area.
- We plan the topics in geography so that they build upon prior learning. Children of all abilities have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit and, through planned progression built into the scheme of work, we offer them an increasing challenge as they move up the school.
4 Foundation Stage
- We teach geography in reception classes as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year. As the reception class is part of the Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum, we relate the geographical aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five. Geography makes a significant contribution to the Early Learning Goals objectives of developing a child’s knowledge and understanding of the world through activities such as collecting postcards from different places, singing songs from around the world, or investigating what makes a ‘good’ playground.
5 The contribution of geography to teaching in other curriculum areas
- Geography makes a significant contribution to the teaching of English in our school because it actively promotes the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Reports, letters and recording information will all develop children’s writing ability. We also use environmental issues as a way of developing the children’s writing ability by asking them to record information and write reports and letters.
- Geography in our school contributes to the teaching of mathematics in a variety of ways. We teach the children how to represent objects with maps. The children study space, scale and distance and they learn how to use four- and six-figure grid references. They also use graphs to explore, analyse and illustrate a variety of data.
Information and communication technology (ICT)
- We make provision for the children to use the computer in geography lessons where appropriate. We incorporate ICT in our geography curriculum planning.. Children use ICT in geography to enhance their skills in data handling and in presenting written work. They research information through the Internet .We arrange for the children to communicate with other pupils in other schools and countries by using e-mail. We also offer children the opportunity to use the digital camera to record and use photographic images.
Personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship
- Geography contributes significantly to the teaching of personal, social and health education and citizenship. Firstly, the subject matter lends itself to raising matters of citizenship and social welfare. For example, children study the way people re-cycle material and how environments are changed for better or for worse. Secondly, the nature of the subject means that children have the opportunity to take part in debates and discussions. We allow them to organize campaigns on matters of concern to them, such as helping the poor or homeless. Thus geography in our school promotes the concept of positive citizenship.
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
- We offer children in our school many opportunities to examine the fundamental questions in life through the medium of geography. Their work on the changing landscape and environmental issues leads children to ask questions about the evolution of the planet. We encourage the children to reflect on the impact of mankind on our world. Through teaching about contrasting localities, we enable the children to learn about inequality and injustice in the world. We help children to develop their knowledge and understanding of different cultures so that they learn to avoid stereotyping other people and acquire a positive attitude towards others. We help contribute to the children’s social development by teaching them about how society works to resolve difficult issues of economic development. Geography contributes to the children’s appreciation of what is right and wrong by raising many moral questions during the programme of study.
- At our school we teach geography to all children, whatever their ability. Geography forms part of the school curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education to all children. Through our geography teaching we provide learning opportunities that enable all pupils to make progress. We do this by setting suitable learning challenges and responding to each child’s different needs. Assessment against the National Curriculum allows us to consider each child’s attainment and progress against expected levels.
- We enable pupils to have access to the full range of activities involved in learning geography. Where children are to participate in activities outside the classroom, for example, a field trip, we carry out a risk assessment prior to the activity, to ensure that the activity is safe and appropriate for all pupils.
7 Assessment and recording
- We assess the children’s work in geography by making informal judgements as we observe the children during lessons. Once they complete a unit of work, we make a summary judgement of the work of each pupil in relation to the National Curriculum levels of attainment.
- The geography subject leader keeps samples of the children’s work in a portfolio which shows what the expected level of achievement is in geography in each year of the school.
- We have sufficient resources in our school to be able to teach all the geography units in the QCA Scheme of Work. We keep these resources in a central store where there is a box of equipment for each unit of work. We also keep a collection of geography equipment which the children use to gather weather data, and a set of atlases for both key stages. In the library we have a good supply of geography topic books and a range of educational software to support the children’s individual research.
- Fieldwork is integral to good geography teaching and we include as many opportunities as we can to involve children in practical geographical research and enquiry.
- At Key Stage 1 we let all the children carry out an investigation into the local environment and we give them opportunities to observe and record information around the school site. At Key Stage 2 the children do a study of the local area. We also offer them the opportunity to take part in a residential visit.