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Verwood Church of England First School and Nursery



“Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future.”

Michael Palin

The study of geography involves our children exploring the relationship and interactions between people and the environments in which they live and upon which they and all life on Earth depends.  Geography helps to prepare our children for life in the 21st century with all of its currently unknown possibilities; the many opportunities and challenges that will arise during their lifetime will be very much about geography – personal, local, national and global. What we intend children to learn in geography reflects this throughout the curriculum. We aim 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. We seek to develop young geographers who are able to make links and connections between the natural world and human activity and to understand the kind of questions geographers ask.

We facilitate this through an enquiry approach, which encourages children to learn Geography through big question led enquiries about topics, places and themes, which focuses on real people, places and geographical issues. Through enquiry, our children not only build subject knowledge and understanding but become increasingly adept at critical thinking, specialised vocabulary and their grasp of subject concepts.  Our curriculum is therefore ‘knowledge rich’ rather than content heavy as we recognise that if we attempt to teach geographical topics, places, themes and issues in their entirety we restrict opportunities for children to master and apply critical thinking skills and achieve more challenging subject outcomes. Our intention is for our children to develop sound geographical awareness and to develop a unique understanding of people and places. In Geography, children learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the world. We have ensured that content includes an even proportion of physical and human investigations and due consideration has been given also to making certain that our geography curriculum maintains relevancy and topicality through including enquiries that engage children in studying issues such as climate change, cliff erosion and trade. The children gain an appreciation of life in other cultures through their study of the characteristics of human geography and gain an awareness of the impact that the physical world has on the future of an environment.

Our learning and teaching in geography is interactive and practical allowing opportunities for children to work independently, in pairs and in groups of various sizes both inside and outside of the classroom.  Learning activities are varied including the use of maps at different scales, GIS, geographical puzzles, photographs and drama. We provide varied and differentiated ways for children to record the outcomes of their work including the use of PowerPoint, annotated diagrams, improvised drama and the application of a wide range of writing genres.  Only in this way, will knowledge become embedded and ‘sticky’ and ensure that our children can build on what they know and understand from one year to the next.  The schemes of work are carefully structured through the use of ancillary questions, to enable children to build their knowledge and understanding in incremental steps of increasing complexity until they reach the point where they are able to answer the question posed at the beginning of the investigation. Our learning and teaching in geography also recognises the importance of fieldwork with a number of our investigations involving observation, recording, presentation, interpretation and the evaluation of geographical information gathered outside of the classroom.