Geography at London Fields Primary
Geography is a rich and diverse subject that gives children the opportunity to learn about diverse places, people, resources, environments and the effect of mankind. It inspires a curiosity and fascination about the world from an early and foster enthusiasm and a passion for learning. By studying the beauty of Earth and the awesome power of Earth-shaping forces we can fascinate, inspire and create globally aware pupils. Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills.
Whilst the importance of geographical knowledge is recognised, we also wish to enable children to become lifelong geographers who have the skills and attitudes to continue to appreciate the world around them Throughout the Geography curriculum at London Fields, children will learn the Earth’s key physical and human processes. They will deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes and how this affects landscapes and environments. Many contemporary challenges – climate change, food security, energy choices – cannot be understood without a geographical perspective.
We ensure that each lesson develops our pupils thinking and decision making as this will help them to live their lives as knowledgeable citizens, aware of their own local communities in a global setting.
We also understand that Geography has many links with a language. Pupils are taught to communicate and decipher information by using maps, images of people and place, numerical data and graphical modes of communication, and getting to grips with the geographic information systems (GIS) that underpin our lives, make geographers skilful and employable. They will also develop important geographical skills, such as being able to use a compass and four figure grid references to describe a location. Our pupils have access to a diverse Geography curriculum that allows continuous development of key skills and geographical knowledge throughout their time at primary school. Time within Geography lessons is split between Human and Physical Geography, in addition the development of key geographical skills.
How Geography is taught across Key Stages?
Within each academic year, children will study Geography during two blocked units. This allows children to build up their geographical skills and understanding through continuous day-to-day learning. We are able to make links between outdoor fieldwork skills and tasks in class and draw links between different areas of Geography.
We have a whole-school Fieldwork day whereby our pupils ‘take-over’ the local park and develop key knowledge of their local area and physical and human factors that are currently impacting on it. We carry out surveys and ask the public for their opinions before using these to create a solution to the problems.
Our Geography Vocabulary
At London Fields, we know that a good understanding of a wide range of vocabulary supports success across the whole national curriculum. We have identified ‘core’ words that the children will meet in different subjects and in different topics. These words will be revisited and taught in different contexts so that the children develop a deep understanding of their meaning and they become tools with which children can access the knowledge, skills and understanding the curriculum demands. Obviously, these are not the only words we will teach. But they will form a backbone through our curriculum to help to scaffold and develop the children’s learning.
We strongly believe that geographical skills need to be put into practice and high-quality learning opportunities can be developed through practical fieldwork. Our staff are always looking at how to incorporate these trips into the curriculum and last year, Year 5 were able to secure funding to go to Hertfordshire to develop their understanding of rivers and wetlands. Our Y6 week-long ‘journey’ is always chosen carefully to allow our pupils access to a contrasting location with multiple opportunities to develop their Geographical knowledge. For the last few years they have been amazed by the coastal features of Lyme Regis, the Isle of Wight and this year they were amazed by the burning cliffs in Dorchester!
In 2017 we also secured funding to take a small group of pupils to our partner school in Zaragoza, Spain. Pupils attended lessons in Spanish, visited Geographical features such as waterfalls and tried local delicacies such as squid at the food markets.
Understanding the world through current affairs is hugely beneficial for developing Geography knowledge and we encourage children to stay up date with what is going on in the world by having a copy of the children’s newspaper ‘First News’ delivered weekly to each class. Ask your child about current issues and see what they know.
Helping at Home
Children’s learning is always accentuated if the support at home is provided in addition to work done inside the classroom. Having access to an atlas is a fantastic way for children to ask questions and become curious about the various countries around the world. Spending 10 minutes a week investigating a new country within the world is a great way to ignite children’s fascination with our planet. For example, you could look at a country’s location in comparison to the UK or investigate food that might be eaten there. Google Earth is another great tool for doing this. The websites below may also be useful: