Geography at HFJS is taught in alternate terms based the Cornerstones Curriculum. Children complete Geography learning based on their termly Interactive Learning Projects. At the beginning of each new topic, children have an enrichment opportunity to create awe and wonder in the subject. Their Interactive Learning Project provides a basis for our English lessons to create a connected curriculum.
The children use mapping skills to study local sites in Higham Ferrers, including our historic Bede House, Chichele College and St Mary’s Church. They study land use in the past and how it has changed over time especially by investigating where the castle was.
As well as exploring local geography, we are keen to provide the children with opportunities to discover geographical features around the world. In the past we have forged links with a school in Africa called Destiny Garden based in Kenya. Each class was paired with a class from Destiny Garden then wrote and received letters from the school in Mombassa, discovering how different the environment is in this location for children in terms of daily life and school. They are able to compare and contrast these experiences with their own lives. This is something that we are hoping to complete again in the near future with a school from a different part of the world.
Children in Year 4 and 6 have the opportunity to participate in residential holidays with the school. These take place in a number of locations including, Dorset, France and Norfolk respectively and offer the children an insight into a different location, which they can compare and contrast with their local area.
This year, we have forged links with the Rockingham Forest Trust who provide an excellent service to engage the children into their history and geography learning in our local area. They run a project called ‘Settlers of the Nene Valley’ and provide activities to explore the Nene Valley, its people, heritage and identity in a changing landscape of the Nene Valley from Neolithic times to Medieval. They focus on: the journeys that the Settlers made, where and how they lived, and what we can learn from them.
As a school we are passionate about looking after our environment. We have worked on whole school projects such as our Plastic Pollution Project. Each class researched a different country to investigate facts about the country, recycling, environmental impact of plastic pollution and the effect it has on the environment and oceans of the world. The children then realised their important role in ending plastic pollution and made changes in their plastic use at home and school.
We are also very lucky to have Rushden Lakes on our doorstep, the first combined leisure and national trust area of its kind. Nene Wetlands Visitor Centre based at Rushden Lakes offer a great opportunity for the children to learn both geographic and scientific skills during their educational visits by exploring the land use of the area, using maps, pond dipping and mini-beast hunting.
To ensure our geography lessons are exciting and engaging we use resources boxes from the Northamptonshire libraries service who provide us with a variety of resources including books and artefacts. In addition to atlases, the children use iPads and digital technology to investigate the United Kingdom and the wider world.