Geography is all about how people, environments, and places are organized and interconnected. It provides children with a critical window through which to observe and notice similarities and differences between places, understand the physical and human features of our planet and recognise their own impact on the planet we live on. At Brookburn, we aim to give children plentiful opportunities to explore geography in a practical manner – “geography with the feet”. Our curriculum is planned and sequenced to support children in building on and developing cumulative knowledge and skills to support their geographical understanding.
In EYFS the children are given opportunities to make sense of their physical world and their community by exploring, observing, and finding out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Across KS1 and KS2, we organise our curriculum into 7 knowledge or skills based Threshold Concepts which develop progressively though school. Some topics through the school use a geography theme as a key driver. Otherwise, cross curricular links are made wherever possible and we value opportunities for children to consolidate their understanding of geography through current affairs, topical issues and via discussions around climate change and the environment which resonates amongst our school community. We value the importance of fieldwork and practical learning – geography should be achieved with the feet! We don’t force links in geography to other curriculum areas where they are not purposeful. In order to maximise quality learning opportunities around practical field work and local area study, we run an environment fortnight where classes have focused teaching which takes them outside of our classroom and into our school grounds and local area. This is achieved in partnership with a team of parents who support the school in developing pupil understanding around ecology and sustainability, both of which are key aspects of geography which we also prioritise as a school.
- In Key Stage 1 children begin to develop a geographical vocabulary by learning about where they live, as well as one other small area of the United Kingdom and a small area in a contrasting non-European country. They also learn about weather patterns in the United Kingdom and hot and cold areas of the world. They use ICT, world maps, atlases and globes, simple compass directions, aerial photographs and plans, as well as simple fieldwork and observational skills
- In Key Stage 2 the children focus on developing 3 key areas of knowledge; locational knowledge, place knowledge and human and physical geography.
The children enjoy Geography – and this is evident from their topic work. Our Geography curriculum ensures that at the end of Key Stage 2 children have a bank of transferable skills such as research, observation, measurement, recording and presentation.
Glossary of terms for KS2 curriculum
Locational knowledge examines latitude, longitude and time zones. Children will use maps to focus on Europe, North and South America, concentrating on regions, key physical / human characteristics, countries, and major cities. They will also work on locating the counties and cities of the United Kingdom, and start to explore their human and physical characteristics. Children will examine geographical similarities and differences by comparing the geography of a region of the United Kingdom with a region in a European country, and with a region in either North or South America. This is part of the place knowledge aspect of the curriculum. For human and physical geography children will be taught to describe and understand key aspects of geography, for example: climate zones, rivers, mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes, the water cycle, types of settlement, economic activity and the distribution of natural resources.
Threshold Concepts of Geographical Learning at Brookburn
Teachers plan and deliver content by linking learning to one of 7 Threshold Concepts. As children progress through the school, teachers can make connections to prior learning and ensure that children are revisiting and drawing on past experiences and teaching to help make sense of new content. This ensures that children are regularly recalling and revising prior teaching to ensure all learning is consolidated within long term memory, and reduces the possibility of forgetting.