At SMSP, we believe that geography should encourage children to be curious about the world. They should ask questions about the natural and human world to develop a greater understanding of the earth and their place in it. We seek to inspire in children a lifelong fascination about the world – its range of diverse places, cultures, natural resources and physical and human features.
Through our exciting geography curriculum, SMSP children develop their knowledge of places and environments. They build their understanding through the use of maps, atlases, globes and digital mapping programs. The children are encouraged to reflect on previous learning and grow their geography skills year on year. In addition to the topics covered, each year group studies a given country in detail. This enables them to draw comparisons between their country and their immediate surroundings. Geography often links with other areas of the curriculum; so it lends itself to many cross-curricular opportunities.
Here in Teddington, we are very fortunate to have large school grounds (including a nature area) and a multitude of geographical based excursions on our doorstep. The school uses these to extend the children’s knowledge. Visits to local landmarks, parks and the River Thames, as well as residential trips in Year 4 and 6, provide memorable learning experiences and opportunities to observe, measure and record.
To enrich their learning further, we organise specialist speakers to share their knowledge with the children, e.g. a Greenpeace representative talking to the children about COP27. We also subscribe to the award winning magazine ‘The Week’, which gives the children in KS2 opportunity to gain a deeper insight into current affairs.
At SMSP, we believe we should take care of our wonderful planet. Each year, the children elect two representatives from each class to be part of the Eco Warrior Team. The team meets fortnightly to work on innovative projects to raise the profile of ecological issues and make our school environment a greener place.
As a Church of England school, we promote children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development in all subjects taught. In geography, our aim is to create responsible, informed and caring global citizens.
In Reception, the children learn about people, communities and the natural world. Through observations, discussions, local visits, map work and inspiring texts, the children explore changes to their environment and develop an understanding about how places differ and why. Regular fieldwork activities in the school grounds, a visit from local fire fighters, trips to Teddington library and links with a local elderly care home enrich the children’s understanding of the world around them.
In Year 1, the children identify the United Kingdom and the countries within it. They study different types of maps, develop their understanding of map symbols and learn why maps are useful. The children study the local area observing local geographical features and land use, for example, taking a closer look at buildings from different eras. They use this knowledge later in the year to compare and contrast human and physical features with a seaside town in Scotland.
In Year 2, the children use maps and globes to find out about the continents and oceans of the world. The children learn the different compass directions and study explorers and their adventures. They also look at the similarities and differences between life in Kenya and their life. They explore the different foods eaten, types of homes the Kenyans live in, a variety of animals and find out about school life in Kenya.
In Year 3, the children find out about where rainforests can be found, what rainforests are like, what can be found in a rainforest and the damage being done to the world’s rainforests. They also understand geographical similarities and differences by comparing the Amazon Rainforest and Sherwood Forest. The children use an online programme called ‘Digimaps’ where they explore the local area and compare it to what it looked like in the past.
In Year 4, the children develop their understanding about weather conditions around the world. They learn about the locations of the different climate zones and identify the human and physical features within them. The children compare and contrast climates between Australia and the United Kingdom. They also study OS maps and identify different features on the maps using their knowledge of the map symbols and four figure grid references.
In Year 5, the children locate the major volcanoes around the world and explore whether they are extinct, dormant or active. They identify the structure of the volcano, how they are formed and learn about the three main volcano shapes. The children’s second main topic is Water and Rivers. They explore the cause and effects of flooding, locate the world’s major rivers, learn about the stages of the water cycle and look into the journey of a river. The children use ‘Digimaps’ to identify local rivers and tributaries. They explore contour lines on OS maps to identify physical features. The children also compare and contrast geographical features of England with Italy.
In Year 6, the children learn about the topic ‘Coasts and Seas’ particularly exploring the Isle of Wight which they visit on their residential trip. Within this topic, the children learn about the key topographical features, changes in land usage of time, coasts and coastal erosion. They also discover and explore the human and physical features of Antarctica and compare and contrast this with life in the UK.