Geography at King's Court First School
Geography lessons at King's Court will inspire a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. Our children will develop a love for geography and the relevant skills to allow them to pursue their own interests in the subject, developing themselves as geographers. Geography has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity.
Our curriculum starts in the Early Years and progresses sequentially through to Year Four. In every lesson we focus on threshold concepts that ties the ambitious body of knowledge together with the characteristics children are developing.
These essential characteristics of mastery in Geography are:
- An excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like.
- An excellent understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected and how much human and physical environments are interrelated.
- An extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.
- Fluency in complex, geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques.
- The ability to reach clear conclusions and develop a reasoned argument to explain findings.
- Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity as shown in interpretations and representations of the subject matter.
- Highly developed and frequently utilised fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.
- A passion for and commitment to the subject, and a real sense of curiosity to find out about the world and the people who live there.
- The ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.
Threshold concepts are taught repeatedly throughout the curriculum, linking learning into meaningful and rich semantic schemas.
In Geography the threshold concepts are:
- Investigate places
This concept involves understanding the geographical location of places and their physical and human features.
- Investigate patterns
This concept involves understanding the relationships between the physical features of places and the human activity within them, and the appreciation of how the world’s natural resources are used and transported.
- Communicate geographically
This concept involves understanding geographical representations, vocabulary and techniques.
WHY is geography important? What's special about it here?
Geography is one of the most relevant subjects our children can learn. Barely a day goes by when geography isn’t in the news.
Geography inspires, opens us to the world around us - close and further afield. It supports children’s natural curiosity, inquisitiveness and desire to ask questions. As a school, we take the opportunity to connect with our local area through our local walks, the landscape around our school, our community and families and cross curricular links.
Therefore, our aims are to ensure children experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of King’s Court, long-term memory of an ambitious body of procedural and semantic knowledge
Our curriculum content and maps are carefully crafted and available on our website.
How do we teach geography here?
In Key Stages One and Two, geography is taught as a discrete subject every week every other term. During these sessions, pupils are given the opportunity to explore a specific topic or theme. It is an instrumental part of the school's curriculum, structured based on the Chris Quigley essentials, which aims to challenge, engage and inspire our pupils: allowing them to recognise their potential as geographers. Elements of geography are delivered to children in the Early Years Foundation Stage, through the Foundation Stage Curriculum (Understanding the World), and are incorporated into the termly topics.
At King's Court, we have designed our curriculum around specific 'Curriculum drivers' that reflect the locality, needs and interests of our pupils. These curriculum drivers are Community, Culture and the Arts.
Our curriculum follows a clear progression of knowledge and skills. In Early Years, pupils start by learning about their immediate locality. As pupils progress through the school, they begin to expand their understanding by thinking about areas outside of their local community of Old Windsor: progressing on to the UK and other countries and continents. Learning about their immediate locality, however, still remains an important element throughout. Particularly in the younger years, sessions are taught practically where possible. This gives the children the time to develop the practical skills needed to become expert Geographers. It also gives these pupils the vital link between the practical experience, and the information that they learn alongside it.
Children will deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes and how this affects landscapes and environments. Children will be given opportunities to investigate the key features of their location using fieldwork skills, aerial images and plan drawings. They will ask appropriate geographical questions and draw conclusions about different environments, and use maps and atlases correctly to identify countries, continents and oceans
Planning and delivery
Teachers create a positive attitude to geography learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in geography. Their curiosity is celebrated within the classroom.
Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, assessing children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning in order to plan for next steps.
Within each Milestone, children gradually progress in their procedural fluency and semantic strength through three cognitive domains: basic, advancing and deep. We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years. Children are encouraged to refer back to previously studied topics, making links within common themes such as human/physical processes, location and physical features.
Effective subject leadership and regular monitoring show that our children understand and apply key principles within their work. At King’s Court, we have a rigorous monitoring process of the Geography curriculum that is kept up to date and contributes towards our school improvement plan.
Developing a strong Geographical Schema - a connection between ideas:
Within each year group the development of continuous provision will support children to ‘bump’ into geographical experiences on a daily basis through equipment, artefacts, books (fiction or non-fiction), technology, questions and conversations with adults. It will take the form of daily routines, replaces the teaching of some aspects of the curriculum and, in other cases, provides retrieval practice for previously learned content. The continuous provision approach enables pupils to reinforce and build upon prior learning, make connections and develop subject specific language.
The successful approach at King’s Court results in an engaging, high-quality geography education that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. Our engagement with the local environment ensures that children learn through varied and first-hand experiences of the world around them.
Frequent, continuous and progressive learning - both inside and outside the classroom is embedded throughout the geography curriculum. Whether it be through workshops, trips or interactions with experts and local organisations, children have the understanding that geography has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity.
At King’s Court, we demonstrate the success of our ambitious geography curriculum as follows:
Concrete ways of seeing the impact of what our children achieve in geography:
- Contributions to world maps (e.g. postcards from holiday travels)
- Development of an informed understanding through before and after mind maps (Cold task and Hot task).
- First hand experiences provided via visitors coming into school, workshops and field trips.
- AfL practices such as peer and self-assessment, immediate feedback, helping pupils understand where they are in their learning, where they are going and how to get there and other activities to directly support progress.
- Pupil’s books are scrutinised across teams and by the subject leader to monitor standards and progression.
- Pupil Voice - Images and videos of the children’s practical learning, Interviewing the pupils about their learning, during and after their experiences. Their opinions and interests are valued and included.
- Photographic evidence of the learning that has taken place or currently taking place. Displays around the learning environment reflecting learning through the geographical topics and themes.
Assessments for geography are made over a period of time and are based on the evidence of more than one activity. They are made through observation, discussion and written work. The children are also involved in self-evaluating their learning. All staff use progression through the milestones, along with National Curriculum age related, to support teacher assessment and annual report writing. Children’s achievements are reported formally during the school year and informally at parent and teacher interviews.
A child's perspective:
'My teacher gives me next steps for learning and they actually help you.'
'I drew the route we walked on a map of Old Windsor.'
'I showed what natural and man-made meant by sorting out Australia landmarks.'
'We did a mind map about Australian landmarks, a picture and a map.'
'I liked learning about tsunamis and earthquakes. It was so fun when there was a pretend earthquake in the classroom and we had to shelter under our tables. The sound effects were amazing.'
'It's not my favourite topic but you make it fun!'
'It could be improved by letting us go to Australia when we learn about it!'