The geography curriculum in St Bernadette School
Geography is about understanding the world by: comparing locations, investigating, researching different sources, exploring different places and asking and answering questions.
Geography helps us to make sense of the world around us. It helps us understand the places we live in, learn about and visit them and why each place matters and how they are connected to a globalised world.
Through Geography, we encounter different societies and cultures and learn to appreciate the incredible diversity of landscapes and peoples.
In Geography, we face questions of what it means to live sustainably in an interdependent world and learn to value and care for the planet and all its inhabitants.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
The early learning goals at EYFS aim to guide your child onto make sense of their physical world and their community by exploring, observing, and finding out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Key Stage 1
In Years 1 and 2, your child will be asked to begin to develop a geographical vocabulary by learning about where they live, as well as one other small area of the United Kingdom and a small area in a contrasting non-European country. They will learn about weather patterns in the United Kingdom and hot and cold areas of the world. They will use ICT, world maps, atlases and globes, simple compass directions, aerial photographs and plans, as well as simple fieldwork and observational skills.
Key Stage 2
In Years 3 to 6, the geography curriculum retains some flexibility, and builds and expands on previous knowledge. There are three focus areas:
- Locational knowledge
- Place knowledge
- Human and physical geography
Locational knowledge examines latitude, longitude and time zones. Your child will use maps to focus on Europe, North and South America, concentrating on regions, key physical / human characteristics, countries, and major cities. They will also work on locating the counties and cities of the United Kingdom, and start to explore their human and physical characteristics.
Children also examine geographical similarities and differences by comparing the geography of a region of the United Kingdom with a region in a European country, and with a region in either North or South America. This is part of the place knowledge aspect of the curriculum.
For human and physical geography, your child will be taught to describe and understand key aspects of geography, for example: climate zones, rivers, mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes, the water cycle, types of settlement, economic activity and the distribution of natural resources.
How can I support my child with geography?
Think about what you already do — Your daily life constantly provides you with rich geographical experiences, information and understanding. You think and act geographically, often without realising it. It comes naturally … as you navigate your way around your home and neighbourhood; as you make sense of local and world news; as you respond to the weather forecast, as you decide on a holiday location and how to get there.
When out and about in your local area, you can help your child geographically by chatting about local physical features, attractions and activities. You might even like to develop this idea by asking them to provide a tourist guide for their local area for visiting relatives. We have a wealth of interesting places on our doorstep in London Colney. Look at the village ~ can you make a simple map with key places? Talk about the River Colne and walk the banks looking at different features. Visit St Albans and look at the two settlements of Verulamium and St Albans at the top of the hill .
On a journey, you can share the road map or map phone app with your son or daughter so they can follow the route while you talk about where you are going.
Holidays are an ideal opportunity to compare the location with their home area — you might ask your child to talk through five similarities and differences, for example. Holidays also provide an opportunity for a museum visit or a trip to a tourist attraction. Get a UK/world map and use post-it notes to show where you have visited , where family members live , where you would like to go.
Closer to home ~ Magazines, TV, films and even some computer games can provide your child with a view of distant places. They enable your child to be transported instantly to another place. Prompt their thinking with questions, such as: What might the weather be like in this place? Why might the road have been built where it is? The list of questions is endless and will lead to all sorts of discussions which will really help to develop curiosity about, and understanding of, the world.
Further support and useful websites
The BBC Bitesize websites link to videos, games and information a wide range of geographical knowledge:
The Geographical Association is the leading organisation supporting geographical teacher in the UK. Their resources are available at:
The Royal Geographical Society has also published a wealth of resources to help teachers and parents: