The national curriculum for geography aims to ensure that all pupils:
- develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
- understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
- are competent in the geographical skills needed to: collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
- interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
- communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.
We teach the National Curriculum but also use Geography to help the children better understand an awareness of the world around them. To help them understand how the Geography of our local area and the world around them has developed and to question why.
The children’s understanding of Geography is supported with cross curricular links through science and history. The children are taught to be Geographers; to use these skills in partnership with our British and Merton Values to question and draw contrasts on our history. The children are trained to understand that the study of Geography is not just about recalling the names of oceans and continents but as Geographers to have a fascination and curiosity of our wider world.
Through the use of fieldwork and geographical investigations we want all of our children to aspire to be the next David Attenborough’s, Greta Thunberg’s or Ernest Shackleton’s. For them to think about our planet and the changes we could make to it to protect it for the generations to come.
Geography is taught through the understanding of our planets continents and oceans. This is in partnership with a topic completed each half term. Each topic through the school is carefully picked to give opportunities for the children to use and build on key geographical related skills. These are;
- name and locate the world’s seven continents and five oceans
- name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas
- understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom, and of a small area in a contrasting non-European Country
Human and physical geography
- identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles
- use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to:
key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather
key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop
Geographical skills and fieldwork
- use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied at this key stage
- use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) and locational and directional language [for example, near and far; left and right], to describe the location of features and routes on a map Geography – key stages 1 and 2 3
- use aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic human and physical features; devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key
- use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.
In EYFS children have opportunities to look at maps, globes, physical and human features, oceans and continents through the use of Geography related continuous provision. Children can look also look at the changes of the seasons through their seasonal studies. Children look at how our school changes throughout the year.
In Key Stage One we use the Cycle of Enquiry throughout the topic to develop and plan the understanding of Geography. This Cycle of Enquiry starts with a key question which is reflected on throughout the topic for the children to follow their own learning journey. Children are encouraged to draw or write on the Cycle of Enquiry to evaluate their own learning at the end of the topic.
Each year group uses a hook to engage and motivate the children’s learning. This can be a school trip or the study of a key explorer to excite and engage learning. Children are encouraged to bring their own knowledge of their local area and the world to each area of study. We are proud to utilise the diverse community we have as part of our Merton Family.
Children are given the opportunity for the study of Geography through our study of the Language of the Month. We look at the children within our school and give everyone the opportunity to learn key phrases in their language. We learn about the country, their currency, cities and key landmarks. This is delivered in a whole school assembly and we often have parents to help present.
Children are taught not only to understand the Geography of that topic but to link their Geographical knowledge to other topics. This is shown in Merton Infant school with every class having a learning wall featuring maps of the world, the UK and Popley for continual reflection.
We teach children about their local area, giving them opportunities to observe and interpret a range of sources such as maps, aerial photographs and their own first hand experiences from field work. Children are taught the differences between their area and other places both in the UK abroad, allowing them to develop their knowledge of the world at different scales: locally, nationally and internationally. Pupils learn the difference between human and physical features, strengthening their understanding and vocabulary. Children analyse how other people and places might be different to what they know and are familiar with, allowing them to make connections whilst considering their rights and responsibilities in the world both towards other people and the environment in which they live.
Opportunities are given at each stage of topic to reflect and link prior learning. In year 1 the children begin building their maps of learning and this is continued on into year 2. Children are able to build on their prior learning from the study of our local area and the UK, through comparing and contrasting these areas with the wider world. Throughout each Theme of work, children are taught to use maps of various scales to locate different human and physical features. They are also taught how to create their own maps. Children are given various opportunities to collect data in the field and to analyse and present this using various information systems. With this motivation to learn geography children begin linking other subjects to geography such as History and Science. Through using the children’s own experiences such as their own places of birth, holidays and key events such as school trips we begin to demonstrate that Geography is an ever changing study.
Through our inclusive and engaging curriculum the children leave Merton Infant School as confident Geographers with a better understanding of how we look at our own planet shapes our future. They leave with all the skills and language they need to begin their Key Stage Two Geography learning.