"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."
Intent - What Do We Aspire for Our Children?
Our Curriculum Intent for Geography
At Cuddington Primary School our geography curriculum aims to fulfill the requirements of the National Curriculum for geography; providing a broad, balanced, ambitious and inclusive curriculum whilst also ensuring the progressive development of geographical concepts, knowledge and skills. We aim to inspire a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with our pupils for the rest of their lives. Our curriculum will equip pupils with a knowledge of diverse places and people, together with a deep understanding of our planet’s key physical and human processes. As an Eco-Schools Green Flag holder, we want our curriculum to empower children with a deep understanding of local, national and global ecological issues and provide them with the necessary knowledge to make positive change.
Our Whole School Geography Curriculum
Implementation - How Will We Deliver the Curriculum?
Knowledge at the Heart of the Curriculum
Learning knowledge is not an endpoint in itself, it is a springboard to learning more knowledge. Each unit in our overview is underpinned by rich, substantive knowledge and ambitious vocabulary, whilst also ensuring children are developing their disciplinary knowledge (geographical skills). Each unit of work is planned carefully to ensure concepts are taught in optimal order to support children's understanding. As well as developing a breadth of geographical knowledge, we want our children to become skillful geographers. Each unit of work has an emphasis on geographical enquiry where children investigate geographically framed questions. In addition to substantive and disciplinary knowledge, children will develop their experiential knowledge through carefully planned fieldwork.
Some units are essentially human geography; others physical geography, but most are holistic geography, considering human and physical geography together – the real, undifferentiated world of the pupil. Place studies start local and increase in scale to regional, national and global, allowing for revisiting, developing and challenging ideas and concepts. Similarly, consideration of the weather and seasons progresses to more in-depth study of the importance of climate and finally addresses protecting environments from global warming and combating climate change.
Key geographical concepts sit at the core of our curriculum to ensure the defining characteristics of the subject are ever-present.
Golden Eco Threads
Our curriculum is refined yearly, but it maintains a consistent knowledge base to ensure conceptual progression. We have identified a set of key eco-themed concepts or ‘golden threads’, that children will repeatedly revisit throughout their time at Cuddington. Our golden threads are aligned with the ‘Ten Topics’ put forward by Eco-Schools. By doing this we aim to keep environmental issues at the forefront of our geography curriculum. Threads are revisited year on year to ensure children develop a broad, but nuanced conceptual understanding. For example, in Year 1 pupils cover the ‘biodiversity’ thread as part of the ‘Animals and their Habitats’ unit. This thread is then revisited in Year 2 (Seasons), Year 4 (The Americas), Year 5 (An Alpine Region) and then finally in Year 6 (The Amazon).
The Importance of Local Geography
We believe strongly that children should have a rich geographical understanding of their local area. This is why local geography and fieldwork is woven into our history curriculum to ensure it is explicitly taught and that links with larger geogra[hical themes are made. For example, Year 5 look at how the local environment has changed through studying the impact of the salt mining industry. Children look at physical changes such as Carey Park and the flashes, as well as human geographical changes like the building of the River Weaver Navigation.
Linking Curriculum and Pedagogy
We have developed our pedagogy and curriculum to teach memorably and make learning stick. At the heart of our approach is retrieval practice. Retrieval practice involves deliberately recalling knowledge from memory to enhance learning. Each time a memory is retrieved, it is strengthened and less likely to be forgotten. If we wish our curriculum to build over time, then we need to teach in a way that makes knowledge ‘stick’. retrieval practice is a staple classroom strategy used to ensure children are regularly recalling and reviewing previously taught concepts to ensure they are not forgotten and thus can be built upon. For example, in Year 4 children learn an overview of the Americas, its varied regions, climates, and human and physical features. This is then built upon in Year 6 when children take part in an in-depth study of the Amazon and explore the city Manaus.
Reading Across the Curriculum
In order to develop children's reading skills, our teaching staff plan opportunities for children to independently read age-appropriate texts that link to the geography topic being studied, or topics that have been previously studied. We have invested heavily in supporting our geography topics with Collins Big Cat titles that enrich the wider curriculum. Whole class reading lessons are also intentionally sequenced to develop children's background knowledge and widen their subject-specific vocabulary. For example, when studying ‘Our Local Area’ in Year 1, children read a range of texts linked to local physical and human features. When studying ‘River and the Water Cycle’ in Year 3, children read a range of texts linked to rivers and mountains.
Where possible, every unit of work is enriched by a school trip, or by a visitor coming into school. Trips and visitors are carefully planned to ensure they link with what is happening in the classroom. For example, in Year 3 when studying coasts, children go on a field trip to the River Dee estuary. In Year 5, when children study changes to the local environment, children explore the changes the salt industry has had on the physical environment through fieldwork and examining geographical evidence.
Here is an overview of visits and fieldwork trips:
Impact - How Do We Know Our Geography Curriculum is Effective?
Our curriculum ethos is that children produce fewer pieces of work that are of high quality. Often, a piece of work will take several weeks to complete and may incorporate learning from other areas of learning. We believe that if children have become knowledgeable and skillful geographers, then they will be able to articulate their understanding with confidence. This is why pupil voice is an important tool in assessing whether children have made progress.
All children work in a humanities book to record their learning throughout a geographical enquiry. Each child will then produce 1-2 high-quality pieces of work for their Curriculum Book. Work in children's Curriculum Book is a culmination of a unit of work. However, we believe that beautiful work takes time. Therefore, children take longer on fewer pieces of work to ensure they can deepen their knowledge and refine their work, taking time to redraft where needed. Below are some examples of our children's high-quality history work featured in their Curriculum Book. Our geography curriculum is also celebrated through displays throughout the school.