All that we do at St Joseph’s is shaped by our commitment to our Faith. Our school Mission Statement is reflected in our geography curriculum as we learn about:
- Diversity in different countries, cultures and the way that people live.
- The beauty of God’s creation.
- The importance in our world or our river systems, mountain ranges, coasts, climate and natural hazards.
- The positive and negative impact humans have on our World and ways in which we can behave more responsibly.
Our Vision for Geography
We want our children to speak, think and behave like geographers.
Children will develop a quick and accurate recall of foundational knowledge. Children learn about their local area of Epsom and about key countries of the world e.g Spain and Chile, making comparisons as their knowledge increases.
From the beginning of Reception, we build the foundation blocks for future learning. Children look at our local environment and a contrasting environment through the story of Town Mouse and Country Mouse. They develop mapping skills through linear maps and our journey to school. In year one, the children progress and study Epsom using mapping skills as well as travelling the Seven Continents of the World with Barnaby Bear. Valparaiso in Chile. Mapping using and understanding some OS symbols.
From KS1 onwards, children learn specifically about the UK, countries of the world, continents, rivers and oceans. They learn the significance of contrasting physical geographical locations including biomes, climate zones and natural resources.
They will acquire the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
Key concepts and themes help children to make links in their learning. In geography, some of these are mapping skills, climate, features of human and physical geography and types of land use. Over time, children develop good geographical learning skills.
Children use our extensive school grounds in their fieldwork. They use four and eight points of the compass for direction and grid references to build upon their knowledge of the UK and the wider world.
They also spend two days at an environmental centre, called Sayer's Croft where they engage in lots of geography learning.
The Framework for learning in Geography is:
How teachers embed knowledge and skills?
Teachers plan regular geography lessons through each term.
Children have ‘Power Pages’ for various geography topics, which capture key knowledge into motivating learning challenges for the children. Children demonstrate a high level of engagement with using them.
‘Where in the World?
Each week children engage in a weekly activity called, ‘Where in the World?’ where they learn key geographical facts like capital cities, names of rivers, continents and countries.
There is a strong focus on securing subject specific vocabulary, and children have word banks which they are challenged to read fluently and explain.
Children are encouraged to read for pleasure and borrow non-fiction geography books of interest to take home to read. There are ample geography books in the libraries.
Achieving Mastery in Geography
So, are our children thinking and working like geographers? We are pleased to say that they are. When we talk to children, we hear them using geographical language.
Regular low stakes quizzes shows that children develop a good level of automaticity in their subject knowledge.
Teachers can see which knowledge the children have embedded and which needs further retrieval. End of each year assessments inform teachers that children have met our age related expectations.
Our Geography Scholar Award is a motivational challenge which assesses not only the work they have done over the past year, but also from previous years.
The outcomes favourably tell us that the children are learning well and are ready for the next academic year.
The quality of work in the children’s books shows that learning is effective.
Children have opportunity to share their work with their parents on three open days through the year, a shared time, which they relish.
In summary, we lead children towards mastery in subject knowledge in geography.