Children are naturally curious about the world they live in. They don’t categorise their growing understanding into subjects like ‘history’, ‘geography’.
We have designed our curriculum to address their curiosity by organising it into topics beginning with questions. While these topics ensure coverage of National Curriculum History and Geography , they also address broader issues, and have strong links to other curriculum areas (Art, Design Technology, Religious Education and Science) where appropriate. The choice and sequence of the topics gives children a chance to explore ideas in depth, to revisit concepts and build upon prior learning.
Topics are taught through enquiry questions, e.g.:
– Why do people explore the world? (Year 1 and 2);
– Why do people move around the world? (Years 3 and 4);
– How can we keep the lights on? (Years 5 and 6).
Each topic is led by an overarching ‘big question’, broken down into weekly questions. This allows children’s natural curiosity to lead their learning; they engage actively by seeking answers, and by asking their own supplementary questions.
Themes Across The Curriculum
Our Humanities topics focus on these themes:
- Who’s in charge? (power struggles, empire and governance)
- Moving and settling (patterns of temporary and permanent migration, both past and present)
- Ideas and innovations (the legacy of different time periods, as well as the influence of other cultures on our own).
Children revisit these themes over time, making connections between topics, building upon their prior learning, and developing a sense of chronology.
Using Children’s Experience
At Hanover we believe that children’s understanding begins with their first-hand experiences – initially of their family and community, and then expanding outwards. Therefore we build a wide range of first-hand experiences into our topics. These include visits to museums, galleries and green spaces within London and beyond, as well as visits from specialists. Throughout all our Humanities topics we encourage them to express themselves, ask questions, and think about similarities and differences.
Our topics are designed to lead towards a tangible outcome in which children share their learning with others. Outcomes might be putting on an exhibition for parents and other visitors; an assembly for the whole school; publishing and launching a book; or making a film and showing it at a school ‘film festival’.
Humanities in the EYFS
Children in Nursery and Reception develop their historical and geographical understanding through the Understanding of the World strand of the EYFS. Within this strand, children learn about both people and communities and the world. We talk about the personal histories of the children and of their families and communities. We invite family and community members into school to talk about aspects of their lives. Children explore the local environment, visiting both the urban and natural sights. They learn about the different places around the world that children visit or are interested in and we compare them to where we live. Children draw pictures and diagrams, make maps and models, write reports and take photographs to record their learning.