Westrop Geography Curriculum – Develop a world view!
What is our approach to Geography?
Westrop Primary and Nursery School's Geography learning journey adopts a cross-curricular approach towards teaching and learning. Underlying this approach is the belief that all children should work together to become informed and active future citizens. This allows children to understand how their lives are connected to others and are both shaped by and impact on the environments they inhabit so that they are to make responsible choices for the future. Westrop endeavours to achieve this with a practical, enquiry-based approach to Geography, exploring both historical and current maps, using digital software such as Google Earth, fieldwork, and asking relevant questions.
How is Geography taught at Westrop?
Locational and place knowledge - Children explore maps and / or globes during every topic they study. This could be a story map, a messy map constructed by the children, a map drawn by the children, historical maps or the more familiar ordinance survey map. Each map skill puts the children’s previous learning into context. In KS1 children will be introduced to several different maps indirectly through their topics, such as looking at a map of how far the Great Fire of London spread through a study of "Bright Lights, Big City" and draw comparisons of London in the past and present. As children enter KS2 they should be able to start identifying countries, oceans and capitals and climate zones on world maps. Children progress using grid references to accurately locate specific areas or landmarks and draw conclusions about how these landmarks affect the countries in different areas such as tourism or trade.
Human and physical geography – Children develop knowledge of human and physical geography during every topic that they study. This is achieved through an enquiry-based approach to teaching and learning. This could be through presenting photographic and aerial pictorial evidence. Children are asked to discover who made it and how was it made? Children then explore their interpretations of the evidence and embark on research using sources, books and reliable internet websites. Children also explore the human impact on the world through the vehicles of trade: discovering the impact of farming, quarrying, deforestation and plastic. This is developed further by asking children what we can do to help and be responsible consumers and citizens.
Fieldwork - Children are provided with opportunities to explore their locality. In KS1 children explore the school grounds (classrooms and woodland area) and some parts of the community such as the local park. As children progress through the school, they develop fieldwork skills further by undertaking surveys, classifing buildings, and looking for evidence of the past within the locality. This enables children to present data and findings in a variety of different formats and draw conclusions about a range of impacts humans have on their environments across the globe.
How to Help Your Child at Home
We live in and around geography - from the streets we walk to the weather we endure - so supporting your child’s geography may not be as daunting as you may first think.
The principle here is to know your local area and explore it with your children. Walk to school/nursery if possible rather than go by car. Touch the outdoor world, keep a record of what you see on the way. Select a different topic each time, for example, Day 1: - how many red objects can we see? Day 2 - what different types of vehicles did we observe?
Play "I Spy" on the way to school. What a way to investigate the features of places! Point out the range of maps that we can use to help us unravel the mystery of places. Be map collectors in places that you visit that give out free maps - shopping centres, country parks, town centres and museums. Read and explore them with your children. Let older children investigate route maps and help them to plan the route to places that you visit. Look at the food items that you are purchasing, note where they come from and look for the countries together in an atlas at home, or on internet maps. Look at the labels in clothing items, where are the items made? Go for a walk in a local wood or forest at different times of the year e.g. springtime or autumn (leaf kicking time). Seasonality is a very important pattern in their lives. Watch the weather forecast - even better listen to different radio channel forecasts. Did they get it right? Watch items on dramatic world weather events. Talk about topic issues highlighted by news programmes such as News Round. School subscriptions to Purple Mash also have a vast array of useful tools linked to topics that will aid your child in their learning at home.
The list is endless – you will have many ideas of your own. In a nutshell, you can help your children learn by offering them exciting activities and by encouraging them to ask and to try to answer questions about the world in which we live.
Useful websites links
Arctic Travel Explorers – a virtual 'Lights over Lapland' tour
Tutorful –top geography websites, YouTube videos and resources
Online Film Festival – resistance in the rainforest
Reach out reporter – news and information about nature
National Geographic – information and games for children
Virtual Tours – virtual tours of zoos, land marks of various countries
Expeditions – Free virtual augmentation app for all ages to take virtual trips around the world to hundreds of destinations