The National Curriculum aims for Key Stage 1 are
We teach the National Curriculum but also use History to help the children better understand the society and culture in which they live. To help them understand how we have developed and made decisions over time which have helped shaped Popley, Great Britain and the world we live in today.
The children’s understanding of History is supported with cross curricular links through literacy, Art and Geography. The children are taught to be Historians; 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 history is not just the recalling of key facts and dates but to understand how to make decisions and conclusions on the evidence or resources that is put to them.
Through looking at our History and key significant individuals we want all of our children to aspire to be explorers, scientists, nurses, doctors, writers and much more that potentially the future children of Merton could also be learning about them.
History is taught using a key time period to help build the children’s key historical knowledge. Each topic through the school is carefully picked to give opportunities for the children to use and build on key history related skills. These are;
In EYFS children have opportunities to contrast and compare old and new, past and present through the use of History related continuous provision. Children can look at old and new technologies, stories and pictures throughout their topics. Through looking at their own traditions and how toys can change over time the children are able to bring in their own experiences to understand how our own history is constantly changing.
In Key Stage One we use the Cycle of Enquiry throughout the topic to develop and plan the understanding of history. 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 a History box provided by HIAS (Hampshire Inspection and Advisory Service) to excite and engage learning. History boxes contain artefacts which the children can explore to better understand the time period. Children are encouraged to compare and contrast the artefacts to modern day equivalents, to talk about how they were used then and why we may not use them now.
Children are taught not only to understand the key period of that topic but to link their historical knowledge to other topics. This is shown in Merton Infant school with every class having a time line for continual reflection. Opportunities are given at each stage of topic to reflect and link prior learning. In year 1 the children begin building their own timeline of learning and this is continued on into year 2. Children are able to compare explorers; the journey of Amelia Earhart to the journeys of Ernest Shackleton. To understand that in the same decade that Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic Ocean, Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole were tending to soldiers in the Crimean War, the Titanic sunk in the Atlantic and our country fought in the First World War. With this motivation to learn history children begin linking other subjects to history such as Art and Literature. Through using the children’s own experiences such as Covid – 19, the years of their birth and starting school and key events such as school trips we begin to demonstrate that History is an ever changing study.
Through our inclusive and engaging curriculum the children leave Merton Infant School as confident historians with a better understanding of how our past shapes our future. They leave with all the skills and language they need to begin their Key Stage Two History learning.