Geography at Larkspur
Geography is a subject packed with excitement and dynamism that synthesises aspects of the world and helps us to better understand its people, places and environments, and the interactions between them. Geography also helps us understand how and why places are changing, and to better imagine, predict and work towards, likely and preferred futures. Underpinning all of this is a strong spatial component that deepens our understanding of what places are like, why and how they are connected, and the importance of location.
Geography It is an enquiry led subject that seeks answers to fundamental questions such as:
Where is this place?
What is it like? (And why?)
How and why is it changing?
How does this place compare with other places?
How and why are places connected?
It is also imperative that a geographer doesn’t just answer questions but also asks and debates them:
What could/should the world be like in the future?
What can we do to influence change?
Geography draws on its vast range of vocabulary to identify and name places, the features within them and the human and physical processes at work there. Such core knowledge provides the building blocks of deeper explanation and understanding; providing entry points to geographical conversations about the world.
Geography is more than just core knowledge. Places are dynamic and often space is perceived, used and contested by people in many different ways. Geography seeks to understand how different views, values and perspectives influence and affect places and environments at different scales. It helps explain why places are changing, how they are interconnected and why patterns of inequality exist at both local and global scales.
Geography deals with the 'here and 'now' of real life and as such, is a vital 'living' subject that contributes to and enhances the wider curriculum. Although geography can be taught alone, it also offers meaningful contexts for high- quality cross - curricular work,
The building blocks of all learning are first observed, recognised, examined and ‘played’ with, if not arranged, from an early age.
Enabling pupils to take on the role of a geographer: exploring, discovering and beginning to make sense of the world around them is an important consideration when planning for the seven areas of inter-connected learning and development that make up the EYFS framework.
In particular the area entitled ‘Understanding the world’ presents the opportunity for pupils to reflect on the events and routines that they and their peers experience. They should be given the opportunity to formulate questions to investigate the similarities and differences that exist and be encouraged to discuss these with interest and sensitivity.
Through role-play the children can learn experientially about the different environments that different professions operate in and explain why some things happen the way they do in both the physical and human world.
Geography enables children to make sense of their world. However, a geography education must encompass more than this. It must provide opportunities which have a transformational effect on a pupils perception of themselves and their relationship with learning. It must enable students to develop a connection and understanding of the world and their place within it.
The National Curriculum sets out ‘the core knowledge and understanding that all pupils should be expected to acquire in the course of their schooling', but a core curriculum is not all that students should be taught. A local and personalised element to the curriculum is essential to ensure that pupils are engaged with innovative and enjoyable learning that has relevance to their lives and work while challenging them to think about 'real world' issue.
A high quality geography education enables a geographer to be able to:
draw on a skills set to measure and interpret
have fluent specialist knowledge
organise their learning and know the next steps, metacognition.
The National Curriculum is like an umbrella which overlays these key requirements, setting out what elements have to be covered by law but the cornerstone is that school’s make the most of their unique setting to create relevance and engagement.
Many of the ‘memorable moments’ of a child’s primary school education come from the first-hand, hands-on experiences of being a geographer. The inclusion of fieldwork is an essential element that enables pupils to connect with a place, community or environment and it doesn’t even have to be beyond walking distance.
'The school locality is a rich resource for geographical enquiry. It is accessible for fieldwork, can be studied in a great variety of ways and helps pupils to develop a sense of their place.'