At Dunston Primary and Nursery Academy we have designed our Geography curriculum with the intent that it will inspire our children with a curiosity, fascination and appreciation of the world around them. It will equip them with a diverse knowledge and understanding of the relationship between the Earth and its people.
In the reorganisation of our curriculum, covered over a 2 year cycle, we provide a purposeful platform for exploring, appreciating and understanding the world in which we live and how it has evolved. We want to ensure that through Geography, pupils are able to gain an understanding of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth's key physical and human processes through the study of place, space and environment.
To help ensure progression of skills to develop good geographers, we have formulated disciplinary concepts which are taught and used throughout all areas of study. These help pupils to build a geographical understanding, it gives what they are learning purpose, strengthens their understanding as geographers and helps pupils to build cognitive connections across year groups and areas of study, helping to reduce cognitive overload. These begin in Nursery and Reception until in KS1 they are exposed to all five concepts. In LKS2 and UKS2 these five concepts continued to be developed and honed.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum supports children’s understanding of geography, people and communities through the planning and teaching of ‘Understanding the World’. Geography is effectively taught through their wider curriculum lessons and through their enhanced learning provision and environment. Children learn about features of their own environment such as school, home, community and their city through first-hand experiences and learn how environments may differ through the sharing of books, stories, poems, small world play, role play and visits. Children are given time to discuss, comment and ask questions about what they observe about the world around them and are encouraged to be active learners and explore their interests further.
Geography is taught in termly blocks throughput the year alongside appropriate History topics or separately, so that children develop a deeper understanding and depth to their learning. Using the long term overviews and the 'I know' statements, teachers understand the key knowledge and skills of each topic and consideration has been given to ensure progression throughout each year group across the school.
Learning will be supported through the use of knowledge organisers that provide children with scaffolding that supports them to retain new facts and vocabulary in their long term memory. Knowledge organisers are stuck in books at the beginning of each new area of study so can be referred to in weekly lessons.
Each lesson begins with recap questions, where pupils have the opportunity to revisit learning from previous years, terms and weeks lessons. The revisit and recap helps pupils to retain what they know in their long term memory as well as make connections with new areas of learning. After this, the lesson's learning intention is shared along with key vocabulary and disciplinary concepts that are being covered in that lesson. This can then be reflected back on, at the end of the lesson to assess learning and understanding.
Geography assessment is ongoing throughout the topic themes to inform teachers with their planning lesson activities and differentiation. Summative assessment, in the form of a quiz, is completed at the end of each topic when history objectives have been covered.
Consistent learning walls in every classroom provide constant scaffolding for children. Subject specific vocabulary is displayed along with key facts and diagrams, and model exemplars of the work being taught. Key events or people of interest (including focus artists, authors, historical events and current affairs) are also pinned on the class world map. Each year, these maps are built on so by Year 6 it will display all areas they have studied at Dunston.
Each term there is a History or Geography competition open to the whole school. Themes of the competition vary based on national events and pupils' interest. All entries of the competition are displayed on the competition board for the whole term. The aims of these competitions is to increase the presence of History and Geography across school, to initiate historical or geographical discussions at home and provide further opportunities for children to deepen their understanding of their interests through their own research.
Educational visits are a key part of our Geography curriculum and we are currently in the process of mapping these out for the coming academic year (2022-2023). Our previous trips and visitors have demonstrated how fantastic these opportunities have been to enhance the geography learning of our pupils. They provide hands on experiences, first hand accounts and expert knowledge which deepen pupils' understanding. Therefore, we see the importance of providing these for each year group.
The impact of our Geography curriculum is pupils are confident and able to talk about what they have learnt in Geography using subject specific vocabulary. The disciplinary concepts ensure pupils develop a sense of space with locational knowledge of the world, its environment and how human and physical factors lead to changes over time. They are able to apply their knowledge and skills in a range of field work and use their understanding of sustainability to recognise the impact we have on our Earth. Pupils' work demonstrates that Geography is taught at an age appropriate standard across each year group with opportunities planned in for all pupils. Pupils enjoy Geography, are able to recall their learning over time and transfer their skills across the curriculum.