In the primary curriculum, geography is referred to, unsurprisingly, as the ‘umbrella’ subject because of its capacity to make tangible and effective connections across subjects. Geography’s fundamental role lies in helping children to understand the world, its environments and places near and far, and the processes that create and affect them. It encourages a holistic appreciation of how the world works and of the interconnections between concepts such as scale, community, cultural diversity, interdependence and sustainability. Geography is a subject that contextualises and extends the possibilities for developing and applying language and mathematics, and enriches understanding of, and in, subjects from science and history to art and design.
At Ludwell, we provide children with a variety of ways in which they are able to explore and learn about geography. These include: geographical enquiry, outdoor learning and fieldwork, children’s personal geographies, spatial awareness, mapwork and graphicacy, learning technologies and environmental geography. These are all used to deepen children’s understanding of challenging and, at times, controversial realities, events and concepts.
Geography Across The Curriculum- An Example
An example of the importance of geography is during teaching time at Ludwell when we have been exploring our use and disposal of plastics. This was the focus of an engaging geography-led enquiry, employing collaborative skills and fostering positive values.
Plastics are invaluable in our modern lives, yet carelessness with them creates potential harm. Children investigated what plastic is and why it is so widely used.
In science, they studied materials as they examined the uses and distribution of plastic items and wrappings.
Using maps, photographs and videos, children built an understanding of plastic manufacture, its sources, its global distribution, the problem of its perceived ‘throwaway’ nature and its impact on natural and urban environments.
Importantly, children started to consider possible solutions, from reuse and safe recycling to ways in which they and their families could reduce their use of plastics, as well as looking into how they might replace it.
Working together to share their findings, using oracy, literacy, numeracy and graphicacy skills, children were encouraged to make creative and insightful proposals and decisions, connecting their studies with their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and through the work of our Eco- Committee to explore how they may make a difference.