Geography at St Leonard’s
We aim to provide children with a coherent, progressive and rigorous learning programme which will engage, motivate and encourage them to see the world as young geographers.
Hi, I’m Gary Nixon and I’m one of the geography subject leads at St Leonard’s. I believe Geography is intrinsically connected to all of us. It has had a great importance throughout the ages from knowing which direction to place some monolithic sarsen stone to relocating due to climate change consequences. This quote from Barak Obama really sums up the subject for me: “The study of geography is more than just memorising places on a map. It’s about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exist across continents. And, in the end, it’s about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together.”
At St Leonard's, we base our Geography lessons around the 'Connected Curriculum' scheme. We chose this framework for a number of reasons, but primarily because the scheme is rooted in Devon and the outcomes are progressive and challenging - not to mention exciting!
What does this look like across the school?
In the Foundation Stage, our children are exposed to and explore a carefully selected number of geographical concepts and key vocabulary. This knowledge is key to accessing the Key Stage 1 curriculum and allows our children to make rapid progress in Year 1.
During Key Stage 1 we challenge and support our children to carry out a number geographical investigations through the Connected Geography learning programme which enable them to use and apply basic and appropriate subject vocabulary, subject tools (including maps, aerial photographs and graphical data and fieldwork skills) to recognise, identify, describe, observe, reason and begin to explain in simple terms the interaction of people with their environments.
Through Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4), learning and teaching builds on the knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes outcomes at Key Stage 1 and the pupils make progress through being provided with opportunities to reach explanations (which means that their understanding is based on the clear use of evidence e.g. from data they have collected and presented in a graph) and reach conclusions about topics, places and issues they have studied. Another important aspect of geography at Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4) is that our pupils begin to be able to see the world through the perspective of different stakeholders i.e. people and things that have an interest in or our connected to an issue or place. To this end, during Years 3 and 4, we challenge and support our children to undertake geographical investigations which enable them to use and apply appropriate and increasingly specialised subject vocabulary, subject tools (such as satellite imagery and GIS) and fieldwork skills to recognise, identify, describe, observe, reason, explain and reach basic conclusions about the interaction of people with their environments.
At Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6) Connected Geography focuses on topics and big questions that extend the children’s subject skills so that they are able to make judgements about things they learn both from their own personal perspective and through empathising with the position of others. In addition opportunities are provided for the children to evaluate what they have learned and how they have learned it and to come up with their own questions to investigate. Higher outcomes in geography also involve children being able to apply what they have learned in one context to another and to understand concepts as well more discrete areas of knowledge which they learned and understood e.g. being aware of the fact that a seaside beach is only one example of how the land meets the sea and that ‘coast’ (a concept or generalised set of information) refers to anywhere where the land meets the sea which may be a beach but also could well be a cliff, port, estuary, mud flat or marsh. To achieve this during Years 5 and 6, we challenge and support our pupils to undertake investigations which enable them to use and apply specialised subject vocabulary, subject tools (such as GIS) and fieldwork skills to recognise, identify, describe, observe, reason, explain, reach conclusions and make judgements, evaluate, apply and hypothesise about the interaction of people with their environments.