Geography at The Winns
At The Winns ,we believe that a high quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We believe that there can be few things more fundamental than learning about the ‘earth as our home’. Geography, when taught well, should fascinate and inspire children and nourish curiosity. Geography also deepens understanding of many contemporary challenges – climate change, food security, energy choices. As a subject, it impacts upon every aspect of our children’s lives and plays a crucial role in developing caring and understanding citizens of tomorrow.
At The Winns, we want children to realise that geography is ‘about them’, growing up in their world. We want to build on children’s interests and experiences but also find ways to challenge and excite them with content that might be beyond their immediate horizon. The National Curriculum sets out the core knowledge and understanding that all pupils should be expected to acquire in the course of their schooling. At The Winns we believe that a core curriculum is not all that pupils should be taught. Although we follow the national curriculum, we also go beyond what is set out. We use it as a springboard to broaden children’s knowledge of the world, to understand environmental issues, and to engage them in innovative and enjoyable learning that has relevance to their lives while challenging them to think about ‘real world’ issues. We have chosen units which reflect the needs of our children: units which take them beyond the local area to explore the UK and the wider world, to develop a passion for learning so that they leave us excited about geography as a subject.
Although we make meaningful links to other curriculum areas, we believe that children should see geography as a subject in its own right. When planning our curriculum, we have thought about its distinctive character as a discipline and ensured that we have woven the concepts that are fundamental to geographical thinking into our curriculum. Skills needed to be a geographer are taught progressively. Concepts are built upon, learning is revisited and children’s locational knowledge is built on year on year.
Geography is taught every second half term – children complete three units over a year. Teachers are clear about what they need children to learn and how this builds on prior learning. We draw on the expertise of The Geographical Association to ensure our units are well planned and also use this organisation to develop our teachers’ subject knowledge.
Field work is a statutory part of the national curriculum and is undertaken on a regular basis. Our geography curriculum ensures children engage regularly with the outside world and develop skills in meaningful and current contexts. First hand experiences are really important for our children at The Winns. Fieldwork ensures are children are engaging with the world around them, managing risks, navigating real landscapes and gathering data for real purposes .
Through our geography curriculum, we have thought about key threads that run through units. These include sustainability, connectivity and community . These threads are revisited over time and add to the cohesiveness of our curriculum.
The impact of our geography curriculum can be seen in work in children’s books . Children have overviews which outline what children will be learning, how this builds on previous learning and what the next steps in learning are. Key assessment targets are identified by leaders and children self assess against these. The teacher uses mini assessments, including check-its and prove-its to ensure learning is being retained. At the end of the unit, children complete a longer review of learning . Depending on the age of the class, this might be a knowledge test, an extended piece of writing or a mind map which captures what they have learnt and remembered. Learning is revisited regularly. When teachers start new units, they recap on prior learning and use our threads to deepen children’s understanding and knowledge of geography.
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