History at London Fields
To see the Curriculum Map for History – Click here
History has always been a subject about which we are passionate at London Fields. Studying history gives pupils the opportunity to develop an understanding of why the world and its people are the way they are today. They begin to ask questions as they explore the diversity of human experience, past lives and societies. As of September 2014, we are following the new History Curriculum which focuses on British history. The idea is that by the end of their primary education, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from Stone Age to present day and are able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives. Interlinked with this is the need to look at world history. At London Fields the children will explore the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece and the Mayans, developing their understanding of trends over time and across concurrent civilisations.
At London Fields history is taught through investigation and enquiry. Children develop an understanding of how History has had an impact on our lives today both locally, nationally and internationally. Whilst it is important for children to have facts, we wish to encourage independent and critical thinking which will foster an understanding of ‘why’ as well as ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘where’. Lessons are planned so that there is time for discussion and debate, fostering an environment of enquiry which enables children to revise and justify their opinions as well as encouraging children to ask as well as answer questions about history.
We believe that History should be an interactive subject which strives to ignite a child’s natural curiosity. Each unit being planned includes opportunities for children to investigate, handle artefacts, pictorial evidence, watch historical footage, take part in role play activities, visit relevant sites and museums and where appropriate, experience oral history, engaging with historical characters and ways of life.
At present, our curriculum provides a rich variety of topics that cover The Stone Age to World War II. Each topic has an overarching question which they refer to at the end of each lesson to see how different events and actions can accumulate to build a deeper understanding of a historical period. They explore this question using a variety of investigative skills, engaging and becoming more familiar with historical skills such as analysing and debating the reliability of sources, making comparisons between historical periods, devising historically valid questions, drawing conclusions from sources and making links between events.
Underpinning this is an emphasis on children understanding the world around them, their country and their values.
How is History currently taught across Key Stages?
Across the whole school, there are four key historical learning intentions that the children will explore over the course of their education at London Fields:
- To investigate and interpret the past.
- To build an overview of world history.
- To understand chronology.
- To communicate historically.
As they develop these skills in a range of contexts, so too will they develop the ability to be independent learners, using the key historical skills they have gained to analyse, question and compare sources of evidence to form their own judgements about the past.
At the end of each unit we have the opportunity for pupil voice to be heard; each class will choose a theme to do with their topic that they haven’t yet covered but are intrigued to learn more about, be it the celebrations and festivals, battles or culinary delights! This sharing of their learning will help to foster an enthusiasm and sense of curiosity about the past, encouraging the children in their first steps towards being life-long learners.
The table below shows the History topics that are currently devlivered across KS1 and KS2.
Cross-Curricular links with History
Each unit incorporates many cross curricular links with Maths, Literacy, Geography, Art, ICT, PHSCE and Religious Education.
Each week children complete a piece of history writing based on literacy targets. This enables them to use the vocabulary they have learnt creatively as well as familiarising them further with the range of writing types and genres they cover throughout the school. During a week when Year 5 have been learning about Victorian migration from the countryside to the towns, they then write a persuasive letter to a relative to convince them to move to a Victorian town. Year 4, having studied a range of sources on life in Henry VIII’s court, wrote a setting description based on what they had learnt. As well as being a an opportunity to consolidate writing skills and reapply them in an alternative and more independent context, this type of activity also allows the children to put themselves in the shoes of the historical characters they are learning about and approach their learning from a different perspective. We have found this is a really good way of revising learning from the lesson whilst progressing with writing.
Geography is an integral part of history as land use and location are central to why certain historical events happened. Many of the tasks our children tackle in history lessons draw upon this understanding.
Each unit will look at an aspect of art from that era such as Roman pots, Mayan tablets and World War II propaganda posters. This allows children to reflect on how art to help us build a picture about the past.
We are even hoping to use our new 3D printer to print replica artefacts such as a Mayan flute!
At London Fields Primary, we believe that fieldwork trips are highly valuable for cementing historical understanding and bringing history to life. As well as being lucky enough to be situated within easy access of some of the country’s most prestigious historical venues such as The British Museum, The Museum of London, The Tower of London and The Imperial War Museum and even Pudding Lane itself!
We are extremely lucky to be based in London with a wealth of cultural opportunities just at our finger tips. Staff are constantly looking for new experiences that will enrich the learning of their pupils. This year’s history trips have taken us further afield to Butser Farm, Lullingstone Roman Villa and the Verulamium in St Albans. We also organise talks and workshops, some of which have a cross-curricular link (e.g. Egyptian dancing and instruments) and some where an expert shares their knowledge with the children in a creative capacity. Recently we had the Mayan expert Dr Davies visit us with her archaeological tools and teach us about the Ancient Maya. We regularly report on these in the newsletter so do have a look each week and see what’s been going on!
History at Home
Being an ancient city, living in London provides our children with a great opportunity to discover more about the past. As well as many museums, history is everywhere – in buildings, blue plagues and our old city wall! Children can also learn a lot from our own personal stories of the past which allow them to understand that the world changes with each generation. At London Fields we actively encourage children to continue their research at home. Below are some websites you might find useful: