"To give children a firm foundation in the knowledge of their local community which leads to an understanding and empathy of the wider world and their place within it."
The teaching of geography at Chestnuts focuses upon enabling children to think as geographers and a variety of pedagogical approaches are employed to achieve this. We follow the National Curriculum for Geography.
During the foundation stage, through Understanding the world, children are guided to make sense of their physical world and their community. Children are encouraged to: talk about the lives of people around them and their roles in society; the features of their own immediate environment; and how environments may vary from one another. They make simple maps and are taught to use positional language. Through the Natural World, children observe the different seasons and use associated language to describe weather. Observations of animals and plants in their environment are encouraged, along with discussions about why things occur and why they might change.
In Key Stage One, children develop knowledge about the physical and human characteristics of the United Kingdom, including a detailed exploration of the characteristics and features of the capital city, London. They learn about maps, cardinal compass points, and positional and directional language. They learn about the equator, hemispheres and continents and are introduced to the countries, capital cities and settlements of the United Kingdom. They learn about the characteristics of the four countries of the United Kingdom and find out why there are hot, temperate and cold places around the world. They also compare England to Somalia. Children carry out fieldwork, collecting primary data in their locality to answer geographical questions; As well as carrying out simple fieldwork to find out about a local river and how it has shaped the area around the school. They learn about the physical and human features of coastal regions across the United Kingdom, including a detailed exploration of the coastal town of Whitby, in Yorkshire.
In Key Stage Two, children extend their knowledge beyond their local area to locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom. They study Europe (including Russia) as well as North and South America and identify the position and significance of the lines of longitude and latitude. They will look at similarities and differences of human geography such as types of settlement and land use. They will also study physical geographical elements such as: climate zones; biomes, vegetation belts; rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes; and the water cycle. Throughout the key stage, children continue to use maps, atlases and globes, embedding use of the eight points of the compass in their work. Four and six figure grid references are used and ordinance survey maps.
Throughout all phases, there is a strong emphasis on vocabulary, and as the range of vocabulary increases, our children become better equipped to investigate, explore, explain, question and think critically to inspire and address their curiosity about the earth and real-life issues. We believe that, as children develop the knowledge and skills of a geographer, they must be given the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in all areas of the subject, therefore, the local area is fully utilised: working in partnership with the Friends of Chestnuts park, trips to local woodlands, parks and local museums all provide opportunities to further geographical learning; river and coastal studies and employing map reading skills are promoted during residential visits.
By the time our children are preparing to join Secondary school, they will:
- Have an excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like.
- Have an excellent understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected and how much human and physical environments are interrelated.
- Have an extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.
- Be fluent in complex, geographical enquiry and the have the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques.
- Have the ability to reach clear conclusions and develop a reasoned argument to explain findings.
- Have significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity as shown in interpretations and representations of the subject matter.
- Be highly developed and be able to utilise fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.
- Have the ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.
- Have a passion for and commitment to geography, and a real sense of curiosity to find out more about the world and the people who live in it.