History & Geography
What do we teach? Why do we teach it?
At Ambler there is a strong commitment to develop a love of Humanities within every child, using every opportunity in History and Geography to stimulate a curious mind, promote a thoughtful and considerate outlook and encourage creative thinking. Our approach is successful at developing the skills needed within any area studied, however it also aims to value every child’s contribution, encouraging an overall sense of belonging and wellbeing.
History and Geography provide a visual, tactile and sensory experience that helps our understanding of the world around us. They are accessible and engaging for all children, as well as offering an opportunity to present what they see, feel and think through the use of different media. As a result Ambler children are involved in shaping their environment, learning to make informed judgements as well as practical decisions.
History and Geography enrich learning across the Curriculum. They are regularly used as starting points for topics within the school, as they often support many other areas of learning. Humanities also provide a perfect opportunity to promote our DREAMS qualities through the exploring and understanding of key figures, time periods and regions of the world. As an example, our Black History Fortnight covers a wider range of people and topics, to broaden learning and understanding of different cultures. Humanities can also develop other less obvious areas of a child’s development such as Oracy, by including debates, shared discussion and class presentation.
Overall, our aim is to provide an ambitious, engaging and empowering History and Geography curriculum for all our children.
How do we teach and assess and how does this look in practice?
Within our whole school overview, each unit of work is carefully planned to complement other subject areas, build on previous knowledge and develop an understanding and appreciation of the world around us.
Our mission is to show a clear improvement of key skills and subject knowledge for every Ambler child from EYFS to Year 6. We have agreed History and Geography skills which are shared on classroom displays, included in a lesson’s focus and regularly highlighted within our teaching. This also helps us assess how effectively every child is developing their understanding and confidence in Humanities.
At the start of any History or Geography topic there is a session which lets every child share what they know and ask questions, as well as offering them key information and vocabulary that will support them in future lessons. In KS1, this is often a shared discussion in class recorded by a teacher, whereas in KS2 children complete their own individual assessment. This, however, is usually done in a collaborative way using talk partners or within a class discussion.
Each lesson begins with quick questions linked to previous units, to improve the children’s ability to retain knowledge and skills from previous learning. Any session will look to introduce new learning in a creative and collaborative way, and will include moments of reflection to encourage the children to make links between their previous knowledge, other subject areas and also their experiences in the outside world.
Teachers are encouraged to bring ‘learning to life’ by inviting outside companies to lead workshops/performances, having guest speakers, and planning meaningful educational trips which provide the best opportunities to promote learning and enjoyment of the subject area.
We also make it a priority to recognise the diverse cultural backgrounds of our children within our teaching and learning, and there is an expectation that planning will provide opportunities to learn about racial equality, gender and social inequality.
On many levels Humanities lessons benefit Ambler children, whether it be sharing their knowledge, encouraging them to investigate and explore, giving them the chance to research with others or improving their own subject knowledge.
As a child moves through Ambler school they are asked to recall and build on what they have already learnt, become actively involved in the process of gaining new knowledge, and see how they can make use of this understanding and awareness as a global citizen.
Within a supportive environment, the children develop their curiosity and confidence, being made fully aware of the DREAMS qualities needed to develop as a learner. By studying famous figures, moments in History and different cultures, they can see that qualities such as determination, resilience, motivation and self-belief are needed to be successful in life. Having this positive atmosphere means our children can be inquisitive, explore, risk and make mistakes, in order to develop their understanding of the world around them. As a result Humanities lessons are seen as interesting and engaging, and ones to look forward to.
As one Year 3 child put it, “History intrigues me and makes me want to learn and find out more. It links to my own experiences.” Or as a Year 6 student explained, “It’s like exploring different places around the world at the same time as being in the classroom.”
This commitment is reflected in the care and attention that Ambler children put into their work, whether that be in books or in creating the displays that help support their learning.