“Geography explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?”
Sir Michael Palin
Geography through our Explore Curriculum
Intent - What do we aspire for our children?
At St Michael’s we provide high quality Geography teaching through our Explore Curriculum. Underpinned by the National Curriculum, our Geography curriculum holds our children and their aspirations, environment and development at its heart.
Geography is the exploration of the world around us: the study of place, space and culture. At St Michael’s, we strive to ensure our multicultural school family feel represented and celebrated within learning, therefore our Geography curriculum allows for this exploration of both their locality in Liverpool as well as a variety of locations around the world. Our Geography curriculum allows the children to delve into the detail of different environments, exploring and developing their Geographical skills and knowledge. Our Geography curriculum will stimulate an awe and fascination for place, space and culture as we explore each continent throughout the journey of EYFS to Year 6.
By the time our children reach the end of their primary journey, we endeavour for them to have the ability to communicate effectively as Geographers using a broad and varied Geographical vocabulary obtained from both explicit teaching, spaced retrieval practice and exposure to high quality texts. Our curriculum shows progression in a range of forms: through curriculum content, Geographical skills and Geographical themes such as place, scale, interaction and sustainability. The effective teaching of Geography is ensured through carefully organised manageable chunks, designed to build schema and support children’s cognitive load.
Through high quality teaching, children are introduced to concepts and given opportunities throughout their learning to regularly retrieve newly acquired knowledge, ensuring a secure and fluent understanding for our learners. Children are challenged to ‘Think like a Geographer’ – comparing environments, discussing change over time as well as accepting the idea that Geography is an evolving subject, open to debate and challenge as we work towards understanding our world better.
Implementation - How will we deliver the curriculum?
Our Teaching & Learning Pedagogy
We have developed our pedagogy and curriculum in line with Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction. We ensure that through effective teaching, we support pupils in learning more and remembering more. At the heart of our practice and a key driver in securing progress for our learners is retrieval practice. Planned for every Geography lesson, retrieval practice aims to quiz learners, exposing them repeatedly to newly acquired knowledge as well as previously taught knowledge until learners are secure. Retrieval practice can take many forms in Geography i.e. through our Friday quizzing, spaced retrieval and oral questioning. For example, in Year 1, children are taught about the countries and capital cities that make up the UK. The children constantly retrieve this information, deepening their understanding of the British Isles and it’s geographical makeup. As the children transition to Year 2, they continue to retrieve this information whilst building on this with their new learning of the continents of the world. Retrieval practice will then be designed to retrieve both concepts, ensuring children have the opportunity to practice recalling these facts until secure.
Talk like a Geographer:
Our Geography curriculum aims to develop a higher level of Geographical Vocabulary for by our children from EYFS to Y6. This development of vocabulary should be well sequenced to ensure progression and challenge as the children progress through the school.
Vocabulary should be taught explicitly throughout every Geography lesson using our whole school techniques such as ‘My turn, your turn’, using a variety of voices for repetition and the ‘Word Aware rap’ where appropriate. This high level vocabulary is retrieved explicitly as part of each lesson as well as through application of writing within lessons. For example, in Year 3 children are challenged to learn challenging vocabulary related to Settlements and cities which in turn they can apply and extend in Year 4 when learning about population of different settlements as well as the tourism different settlements bring.
The Importance of Local Geography
We ensure fieldwork is taught in every year group, making use of our school grounds and locality to immerse our children in the environment, supporting the acquisition of Geographical vocabulary and providing opportunity to experience and explore the natural world. Trips around our local area are planned in each year group to ensure pupils have the opportunity to experience their local area and explore through a Geographical lense. For example, In EYFS the children experience visits to our local Newsham Park for a ‘Welly Walk’. This is then built upon in Year 1 when the children enjoy trips to Newsham Park as part of their topic on Our Local Area.
Opening Worlds Humanities Curriculum
We are currently in the process of implementing the Opening Worlds Humanities Programme in partnership with School Improvement Liverpool. This humanities programme is currently followed by Years 3 -5 with Year 6 joining us from September 2023. This programme is focused around scope, rigour, coherence and sequencing of the Geography curriculum. This programme is broad in scope, exposing our children to a vast variety of locations to feed their curiosity. In these sessions, children are transported to new locations from the Indus Valley to California and the Amazon Basin to explore and discover further as Geographers. This programme is coherently sequenced, building pupils ability to compare and contrast, forming their own opinions and critical judgements of Geographical ideas and concepts. This is taught through high leverage activities which encourage pupils to think hard about the information presented to them and begin to develop a broader, deeper understanding of the world around them. This programme has been well received by both our learners and the teachers delivering the sessions thus far and will be utilised further across KS2 as our children progress through the year groups.
Just click a button below to View any document, you will then have the option to Download or Print the file. You can access all of our policies and reports on the website. Please contact the school if you would like any paper versions of our documents.