Geography is the study of places and the relationship between people and their environments.
At Elmhurst Junior School, we believe that Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it. The Geography curriculum at Elmhurst Junior School enables children to develop knowledge and skills that are transferable to other curriculum areas and which can and are used to promote their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills.
The curriculum is designed to ensure that teaching equips pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress through the school, their growing knowledge about the world helps them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge and skills are progressive and are sequenced to provide the framework and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
At Elmhurst, we seek to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people which will remain with them for the rest of their lives, equipping them well for further education and beyond.
Geography at Elmhurst Junior School is taught in blocks throughout the year, so that children can achieve depth in their learning. Knowledge of substantive concepts and disciplinary concepts have been interleaved across the curriculum, allowing children to encounter and apply these in different contexts. From year to year, unit to unit, the Geography curriculum supports children in making connections and building upon prior substantive and disciplinary knowledge. Our curriculum identifies the key knowledge and skills of each blocked unit and these are mapped across the school, ensuring that knowledge builds progressively and that children develop skills systematically.
Geography knowledge organisers highlight the key knowledge and vocabulary for each lesson and medium term planning shows key objectives and questions for each lesson so the learning intentions and outcomes are clear. All recorded work in Geography is kept in individual books and pieces are displayed in classrooms as part of the learning journey.
Throughout each unit of work, pupils are encouraged to articulate and reflect upon their learning and retrieval activities such as Talk Like A Geographer in conjunction with subject specific sentence stems, games and quizzes are used to support this. The learning journey for each half term is culminated by a final piece of work showcasing the knowledge that has been learnt. All children have access to the full curriculum and tasks are adapted to provide appropriate challenge and support depending on individual needs. Geography resources such as atlases and OS maps, are allocated to year groups and specific units of work, allowing teachers to support effective learning. The local area is utilised wherever possible to achieve the desired outcomes, with opportunities for learning outside the classroom embedded in practice.
Outcomes in pupils’ Geography books provides clear evidence of a broad and balanced curriculum and demonstrates children’s acquisition of key knowledge. Pupils’ work is assessed on a lesson-by-lesson basis through the use of verbal feedback, written feedback, peer and self-review. This is used to inform teacher assessment and is used by the Geography subject leader as part of the monitoring process. Pupils’ work relates to each of the identified national curriculum strands as appropriate to Key Stage 2: locational knowledge, place knowledge and human and physical geography. This is in addition to the development and application of key skills, supported by fieldwork.
Key questions are planned into each unit of work for pupils to show progression of knowledge and understanding of key concepts taught, either through verbal or written feedback. This allows teachers to assess pupils’ skills and knowledge throughout each unit taught. Specific knowledge retrieval activities like Talk Like A Geographer are used to enable teachers and children to monitor the depth of understanding of core substantive knowledge and vocabulary and the strength of its retrieval.
Children are confident recalling key knowledge and facts that have been learnt and are able to discuss aspects of their Geography units with enthusiasm in discussion with the Geography subject leader. Children’s books and knowledge organisers are used to guide discussion and provide the subject leader with the necessary information to measure how much core knowledge and vocabulary has been remembered and understood. Weekly celebration assemblies, shared on the school website, showcase a variety of Geography activities and work completed from Year 3 through to Year 6.