Rathfern Primary

Geography Curriculum

We believe that the teaching of Geography should acknowledge the pivotal role human beings can play in securing the future of our planet . Several of our geography units encourage children to think about their role in protecting the planet.

Within our curriculum, children are given time to build on the geographical vocabulary they have learned to deepen their geographical understanding of key concepts such as migration. This enables our children to transfer knowledge  and thus make links between the different geographical concepts studied. For example, the concept of place is introduced in KS1. This is built upon across units in LKS2 and again during several of the UKS2 geography units. 

Through our knowledge-rich, geography curriculum, we aim to give children a deep understanding of the relationship between the physical and human environment.

For example, a focus on Rivers begins with a local study of the River Quaggy. This knowledge is built upon in a study of The River Thames and is developed through a study of the River Amazon. Understanding of the human impact on Rivers is then embedded through studying settlement patterns close to rivers, both in the UK and beyond. This learning is then linked with the environmental impact of flooding.

We study the factors that have shaped and explain our community composition through the study of Britain’s Migration story. This is the story of people of colour in the UK and helps all young people locate themselves inside the classroom and curriculum, not outside. 

The aims of our curriculum are:

  • to stimulate children’s interest in their surroundings and develop a knowledge and understanding of the physical and human processes that shape places.
  • to provide learning opportunities that enthuse, engage, and motivate children to learn and foster a sense of curiosity and wonder at the beauty of the world around them.
  • to encourage in children a commitment to sustainable development and an appreciation of what ‘global citizenship’ means.
  • to make sense of their own surroundings through learning about their own locality and the interaction between people and the environment.
  • to develop the geographical skills, including how to use, draw and interpret maps of different scales, and the vocabulary necessary to carry out effective geographical enquiry.
  • to be able to apply map reading skills to globes and atlas maps and identify geographical features.
  • to formulate appropriate questions, develop research skills and evaluate material to inform opinions.

These aims are incorporated in the following topics throughout the various key stages:

Year 1: We are Catford, Polar Explores, Trickster Tales from West Africa and the Caribbean, Save The Whale

Year 2: Emily Browns’ UK Adventures, A Forest, The Disgusting Sandwich (mapping focus)

Year 3:Turbulent,Trembling Earth(Volcanoes and Earthquakes, Brazil-Rainforest, River and Rio, Changing Communities Lewisham Market

Year 4: Recycle, Reuse, Re-Purpose and Repair, St.Pancras to Paris(Britain and France)

Year 5: Earth and Space, Wild, Wondrous Water, Community Activism 

Year 6: Royal Borough of Greenwich Tudors, Exploration and Empire Map Projections, Identity and Migration

Key Stage 1:

Children’s geographical learning starts with identifying areas they are familiar with and then gradually gaining an understanding of how their local areas fit into the wider world. This process starts with learning about our school and local community, and widens to studies of the City of London and Europe. The children progress with firstly naming and identifying their local area and landmarks during a visit to Lewisham Centre in Year 1, where children use their observational skills, and a trip to Ladywell Fields in Year 2, where children learn to use compasses.

Key Stage 2:

Children’s progression in KS2 of locational and place knowledge moves from the local areas studied in KS1, to looking at differences and similarities between Catford and non-European countries in Year 3, with a strong theme of migration running through Years 5 and 6, examining how our local community was formed. Children will deepen their understanding of physical geography during their studies of volcanoes in Year 3 and rivers in Year 5, supported by visits to the Natural History Museum and Deptford Creek. Year 4 focus in depth on human geography, and the interaction between human actions and our planet during their Eco-Warriors topic.

In each year group, fieldwork skills are developed and built on across all topics. Children learn to use directional language, read a map, use a compass, identify landmarks using grid references and use a range of digital mapping tools. Year 6 put their understanding to the test by using their orienteering skills on their School Journey.

Throughout all key stages the UNCRC and Sustainable Development Goals are linked and embedded in the learning underpinned by the moral purpose and questioning of the topic.

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