Geography Vision for our pupils at HLC
The study of geography is about more than just memorizing places on a map. It's about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents. And in the end, it's about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together.
At HLC we believe in offering all our children a creative and meaningful Geography education which will inspire them with a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. Geography is an exciting and relevant subject and we want the children to develop locational knowledge, place knowledge, hu- man and physical geography, geographical skills and fieldwork, starting with them and their immediate locality before branching out and examining the national and international world.
Our school mottos: belong, respect, inspire, succeed and enjoy contribute to the cultural, social, spiritu- al and moral life of pupils at HLC, who come from a wealth of different cultures and backgrounds as they acquire knowledge of different traditions, and learn tolerance and understanding of other people and environments. We are fortunate to live in a community rich in culture and diversity and we embrace the opportunities this affords us. We want to encourage our pupils to have an increased knowledge of other cultures with respect and understanding of what it means to be a positive citizen in a multi–cultural country.
Our pupils study two sequenced Geography topics throughout the year which culminates in an enquiry end point; an opportunity to apply and analyse their knowledge and skills. Additionally, pupils are given the opportunity to consolidate and apply their geographical skills when at least one geography link is interweaved into their topical learning. They use a wide variety of sources, including maps, the internet and photos to establish the location of countries, cities, mountain ranges, rivers, sea and oceans. Knowledge Organisers consist of key facts and maps are used alongside key geographical vocabulary which is contextualised in the places and topics that children are learning about, rather than simply learned as a word list.
Where possible we aim to give our children memorable learning experiences that will stay with them and heighten their interest further. Geography lessons have active elements, for example role playing the lives of explorers such as Shackleton in Year 6 or becoming a weather reporter in Year 5 when collecting and analysing climates to learn about the water cycle. To improve their sense of direction, orienteering activities may first involve treasure hunts involving map reading and map making. By the time children reach Year 6, pupils will confidently use a range of geographical vocabulary that they will have been ex- posed to throughout their time at HLC in order to better understand and explain their place and location- al knowledge. In addition, they will have developed their mapping skills throughout the years to adeptly use Google Earth and GIS maps alongside atlases.
The geography curriculum places a great importance on the interaction between the physical and the human environment. To acknowledge the future of our planet, our topics give opportunities to make children aware of these effects upon their surroundings, their own responsibilities and how they can con- tribute to improving the environment, however small that contribution might be. Our links with the com- munity are made successfully with DENSO and John Muir (Outdoor Learning) so that children can take part in contributing to and protecting this world as they grow up, for example, creating a community gar- den and upcycling.
Teaching of Geography at HLC
In Nursery and Reception, Geography comes under the curriculum area of, ‘Understanding the World’ and ‘People and Communities,’ providing links with science and history. We encourage the children to explore our outdoor areas which also includes a Forest School on site. Our youngest children are encour- aged to identify places in books, the changing seasons, explore and investigate the plants, wildlife and mini–beasts that we find there by drawing them, making dens and following the children’s interests in learning more about them. Through play, the beginnings of maps are introduced to encourage the chil- dren to look closely at what they see around them and to sketch with some accuracy, recognisable fea- tures using directional language.
In Key Stage 1 we begin to look at our local area in more detail, particularly in our topic of,
‘Telford Tours,’ where children go out into the local area of Hadley to look at different buildings and homes to eventually create 3d maps. They expand on their knowledge of the weather and seasons as they explore contrasting climates. Children learn to draw and interpret maps with increased accuracy us- ing geographical vocabulary and to develop a variety of skills through topic work, including those of en- quiry, problem–solving, investigating and presenting work using skills learned in English, Maths, Art and Science. Where it is possible, cross curricular links are also made to STEM, for example, ‘How can I make a building more eco–friendly? ’ At HLC we also aim to inspire children with a sense of environmental re- sponsibility and encourage them to recycle and reduce litter around the school. Linking topic work, ’Eco– Warriors’ with visits to Veolia has made this invaluable.
As the children journey through KS2, they will be able to identify the seven continents of the world as well as a range of countries, cities and towns within Europe. Our aim is to ensure children become skilled and efficient at identifying places on maps and plotting routes, for example, in Year 4 ‘Comparing countries in Europe,’ children name geographical regions to compare with a study of a region in Europe identifying human and physical characteristics in order to debate the best place for a specific building.
Children extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United King- dom and Europe, North and South America. This includes the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. Our pupils will gain an understanding of how places are interdependent and interconnected, for example in Year 3 children study tectonic plates with- in the topic of Volcanos and by Year 5 they will have an in depth understanding of the layers of the Earth as they study Unusual Landscapes.