'I like geography the best, he said, because your rivers and mountains know the secret. Pay no attention to boundaries.'
- Brain Andreas, American writer and artist
'Nothing kills creativity faster than a wall.'
- Eric Weiner, The Geography of Genius
The Geography Curriculum at Spinney Hill
At Spinney Hill we know that the study of geography must ensure that children develop a secure knowledge and understanding of both the human and physical aspects of the world they live in, and the relationship between people and their environments. Children enquire into and question about the natural and human aspects of the world, broaden their horizons and aspirations through the study of different countries, cultures and geographic phenomena, and develop a sense of place alongside an understanding of how different places and cultures interact and are increasingly dependent on each other. As in all subject areas, we recognise the importance for every child to be given the opportunity to question, investigate and to think critically; in their study of geography children are constantly challenged in order to both make connections between the physical landscapes and processes they investigate and how these are interconnected with the lives of people across the globe. Where possible, definite links are made to highlight how the actions of people are detrimentally impacting on eco-systems and biomes, how this affects all of us and the steps they can take for a more sustainable future. Throughout their study, children progressively develop and embed the vocabulary, geographical skills and knowledge that are mapped out in our Geography Curriculum Milestones and, as children move through the school, they learn to speak, think and writer like geographers as their horizons and focus for study expand beyond the school and local area and into the wider world. As this understanding grows, so does children’s awareness of the geographical journeys which have influenced and impacted on their lives and resulted in Leicester becoming such a vibrant and diverse city. This gives the children at Spinney Hill a keen insight into the personal experiences of people around the globe, a sense of both place and change, and also a sense of responsibility.
Support and Grow - How we teach geography
At Spinney Hill, geography is taught through enquiry-driven lessons which develop critical thinking, have a clear focus on specific concepts and is supported by high-quality, resources, images and scaffolded tasks designed to ‘feed-in the facts’ through discussion and debate. Opportunities for field studies and use of the local area are planned in where possible. Children begin to make sense of the physical world and their community in the Foundation Stage and throughout Key Stage 1 and 2 this expands as children explore and investigate the United Kingdom and beyond. Maps, at a variety of scales, are used as a matter of routine and are an intrinsic part of children’s learning in geography. This ensures that children have good spatial awareness and are secure in their ability to locate the significant places they are studying and have studied. Where possible, teachers identify opportunities for children to use the school environment and local area which allows children to develop and embed their fieldwork skills. This supports the teaching and learning of mapping skills, physical geography and human geography as children observe, measure and record. Children are given opportunities to ask questions, develop geographical skills and articulate opinions through structured talk and oracy within all lessons. Underpinning this is the acquisition of children’s geographical vocabulary, which is explicitly taught and modelled in all lessons, and making links between new and prior learning. Prior geographical learning is used as the springboard into new areas of study and connections made with, for example, key locational knowledge, concepts and vocabulary that children will have previously encountered with the aim of children both remembering and knowing more.
Achieve - How we ensure children are ready for the next stage in their learning
The impact of our geography curriculum is carefully monitored and evaluated in a variety of different ways. Learning walks, book sampling, analysis of learning journeys and monitoring of learning environments are carried out by the subject leaders to identify how ready children are for the next stage in their learning and areas in need of development. Subject leaders also conduct pupil interviews to ensure pupils are retaining prior-learning and making connections with current areas of study. In addition to this, each child’s progress is monitored by class teachers who assess them against our geopraphy milestones. Teachers also create ‘impact’ pages on teams to provide a snap-shot of learning to reflect both what has been covered and to illustrate what children are capable of achieving.