Geography Curriculum Rationale
At Gilmour Infant School, Geography provides a means of exploring, appreciating and understanding the world in which we live – we are intrepid explorers from the comfort of our classrooms! We aim to inspire in our children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. We build upon the children’s personal geography by developing geographical skills, understanding and knowledge through studying places and themes.
In the Foundation Stage, our youngest explorers embark on an Understanding the World magical mystery tour – the destinations are decided by the interests and experiences of the children. By investigating these 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.
The adventure continues in Key Stage 1. In Year 1, the starting point of their Geography journey is our school itself! The children learn about the local area in which they live and we then travel further afield to compare their life in this locality to other regions of the United Kingdom. As meteorologists, we keep a close eye on the weather too! The world tour continues in Year 2, where we travel far and wide across the seven continents of the world, sailing its five oceans to discover hot and cold areas in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles. They learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of research, observation, investigation, analysis and problem-solving. At Gilmour Infant School we are all geographers!
Starting with the subject content outlined in the National Curriculum Programme of Study, we have developed a curriculum map which ensures coverage and progression across the key stages. Foundation subjects are taught in 2-week blocks. In this way 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, vocabulary, knowledge and skills. Our working walls reflect each geographical journey and are a constant reminder of previous learning.
In our medium-term plans we set out the learning objectives for each lesson, identifying engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them. Each geography lesson will begin by revisiting and consolidating previous learning, ensuring a firm foundation upon which to build. To encourage geographical enquiry, we pose a question to investigate or a problem to solve. The children must then use their geographical skills and knowledge to find the solution. Under skilful guidance, clear explanations, modelling, and scaffolding of learning the children become successful, happy learners.
We use a variety of ways to find out what the children know. All activities are differentiated to suit different abilities and learning styles. We encourage the children to talk - in pairs, small groups or through class discussion, to share ideas, experiences or suggestions, and comments are noted. The children may record pictorially, with the adult scribing the child’s observations. We also collect photographic evidence. We revisit previous topics to assess if the children have remembered previous learning some time later.
We have developed ‘I can . . .’ assessment sheets, with statements taken directly from the National Curriculum Programmes of Study. As each unit of work is covered, we consider the related intended learning, recognise children who are working at or beyond the expected level for their age, as well as identifying the children who need and who will therefore receive support.
Monitoring in geography includes work book scrutinies, 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 Geography. This information is then used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.