St Luke's C of E Primary School

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"For each one of us to shine with God’s light
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The All Saints geography curriculum allows children to explore the relationship between people and the environment.  During the lifetime of our pupils, many will live to see London become a ‘megacity’.  They will live in a world with local, national and global opportunities and challenges that come with a highly populated planet.  Our geography curriculum reflects this while ensuring coverage of the Geography Primary National Curriculum. 

Based near the hardest working river in Europe during the Victorian period, the River Wandle provides our children with many rich learning opportunities in geography and history.  Similarly, being within close proximity to the River Thames and London, All Saints children have further opportunities for school visits to bring urban and river learning to life.

Our geography curriculum enables children to firstly find locations on a selection of maps as well as compare what places are like.  Field work, human and physical geography then opens up enquiry where our curious children ask questions and examine what places are like.  

Through our whole-school BLPs (learning powers), the intention is for our children to be creative, critical thinkers about the knowledge and skills they learn in geography and to ask and answer intriguing and perceptive questions.   With higher than average levels of language, we also aim for our children to use geographical vocabulary to discuss their understanding.   


Implementation – teaching activities & strategies you use to teach

The All Saints geography curriculum reflects the make-up of the Carshalton locality, the British Isles and various aspects of global geography.  Our curriculum gives children the cultural capital they need to understand the diverse world and society they are growing up in. 

Year groups teach two half-termly themes over the year with geography at the centre.  Geographical place and locational knowledge are learned while enquiry and fieldwork make sense of this knowledge.  The skills and knowledge needed have been identified at each year group and are built upon as the children move up the school.  They are sequenced so the children reach their full potential ready for moving into Year 7.  Furthermore, we have created our own medium-term plans to ensure all areas of the Geography National Curriculum are taught while specifying key skills, knowledge and language within each year group to support pitch and progression.

All themes have an ‘entry’ and ‘exit point’ at All Saints and geography themes might engage children in a trip, for example, to hook children into the theme or celebrate their learning. Additionally, optional home learning is centred around geographical themes with creative suggestions for activities.  Children have the chance to apply their geographical learning at home in their own way.

Much of our curriculum engages children in physical geography and in our own self-devised medium-term plans, we have included additional human geography to reflect the world the children are growing up in.  In Year 3, for example, our Here, There and Everywhere theme is centred around people visiting an India market, Arabic immigrants living in the USA and the diverse range of people living in poverty in urban settlements.  In the rich learning opportunities, the children learn about people who are both different and similar to themselves. 

In each geography-based theme, children undertake a variety of accessible activities paying close attention to the geographical concepts which are built on throughout the years: fieldwork and geographical enquiry.  Lessons encourage our children to think as geographers both creating and using globes, atlases and maps at different scales with school trips and to complement and consolidate learning. 

In every geography theme, children will produce at least one piece of writing to support and apply geographical understanding, use geographical vocabulary and embed key skills from other areas of the curriculum.  For example, persuasive writing to stop littering on mountains.

In EYFS, geography is taught as part of ‘Understanding the World’ through continuous provision and adult-led learning.  A more formal approach starts from Year 1 throughout the rest of the school.   When beginning a new geography theme, children are asked a Big enquiry-based Question to demonstrate their prior understanding.  They then revisit the same question on completion of the geographical aspects of the theme to show their progress thus adding to assessment opportunities.

Impact – what pupils learn from the curriculum

Our approach to geography at All Saints ensures our children are equipped with geographical skills and knowledge that enable them to understand and ultimately appreciate the world around them.  They will do this by learning how the physical world works and how people interact within it.  Children will leave us being ready for Year 7 geography learning, with positive life-long attitudes towards global communities and confident in using geographical vocabulary.

Outcomes of discussions with children, teaching and books and displays across the school will demonstrate a broad curriculum rich in geography that reflects not only National Curriculum requirements but the All Saints community.  Outcomes will show that children are curious and passionate about their learning, being able to critically question, use evidence and analyse while gathering a coherent knowledge of place and locations.

How can parents help?

We are lucky to be so close to the The River Wandle and River Thames with its rich history as well as geographical human and physical features such as tributaries, weirs and the Thames Barrier.  A good question to consider is ‘why is the water in the River Wandle so clear?’ (The answer has something to do with rocks!)

The Wandle Trail is a pleasant walk and can be taken in small parts.  Look at the plants that grow along the river banks as well as the similarities and differences of places that the River runs through.  The Wandle Trail website has a map that children can follow to learn some key geographical skills.

Beddington Park is a great place to visit to observe the River Wandle and there are maps on display that children could follow – they could even make their own maps of the Park.

Ask questions that encourage thinking and enquiring as well as factual knowledge:

  • What is the difference between urban and rural?
  • Why are many cities and towns built by rivers?
  • What type of settlement do we live in?
  • How do you know…?
  • Why might people have migrated from/to…?
  • Keep an eye on the news. Children are always amazed by natural disasters but be aware of how they affect human lives.

Look at and draw a range of maps:

  • Draw a map of an imaginary place in a story book, e.g. Narnia, Kensuke’s Kingdom
  • Design a town. What features would it have in it? Green spaces, schools, shops, religious places, homes.  How are these represented on your map?
  • Find your street in an A-Z.
  • Draw a map of your route home from school?
  • Follow part of a bus route. Why does the bus go that particular way?
  • Explore Google Earth. How is a desert represented? Can you find green spaces in a city?  Look for famous places such as the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids of Giza or the Grand Canyon.