Preston Park Primary


Geography explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future.’ Michael Palin

What do we want for our children?

Geography is a way of looking at and thinking about the world. It is not simply about knowing where places are. At Preston Park we aim for a high quality geography curriculum which should inspire in children a curiosity and sense of wonder about the world in which they live.

High quality geography provision, by its fundamental nature (learning about the world), intrinsically links to and enhances all areas of learning. It supports children’s understanding of identity and their place in the world. In turn, effective geographical learning only happens in conjunction with its own intricacies and those of other disciplines. Geography alongside history, religious education and global events forms a central strand of much of our integrated curriculum here at Preston Park, driving many of the units taught. This approach combines the rigour of a subject-specific approach with the flexible nature of a topic-based curriculum; ensuring pupils make meaningful links across different areas of knowledge. This affords our children the opportunity to become experts in the field and allows the time and space to engage children fully, also allowing for a greater number of trips and immersive experiences, something that our children particularly benefit from.

The following principles, drawn from the 2014 National Curriculum [1], drive our geography intent:

  • Children are entitled to a high-quality geography education that inspires in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
  • Teaching equips pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.
  • As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments.
  • Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the framework and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.

Our aims are:

  • To inspire pupils’ curiosity about the world around them.
  • To ensure children leave Preston Park with the locational knowledge of their community and the world around them.
  • To develop children’s geographical skills including the reading of ordinance survey maps, aerial photographs, globes and digital mapping.
  • To develop the children’s understanding of how the human and physical geography of the world around them has changed over time.
  • To become confident, motivational leaders to inspire others and ensure a sustainable future for all.

The learning of geography will not only inspire children about the wonderous world that surrounds them but teaches them the importance of preserving the people, animals and environments of our world for a sustainable future. Geography deepens your knowledge about the different cultures that make up our society, the rare and unique animals and diverse environments of planet Earth.

Global awareness, problem-solving and communication are key attributes of a 21st Century learner, that is explicitly taught through Preston Park’s Geography lessons, as the children have wider experiences which unlock their potential in these areas. They will learn to become self-directed, innovative and collaborative as they work on issues such as sustainability and preservation of the natural world. Having the confidence and independence to be a voice for change, through this subject, can impact their future outcomes and the outcomes of the wider world.  

Our learners will find the answers to questions such as:

  • Why is climate change a global issue?
  • What if the world had no rainforests?
  • How does the environment support the lives of people and other living things?



How do we deliver this effectively?

Geography is taught on a termly basis and is taught as a stand-alone lesson as well as implemented throughout a range of core and foundation subjects. This may include extended pieces of writing in English, map reading skills in mathematics and comparing aerial photographs to determine the changes of an environment within the last century in History. 

At Preston Park, we follow a bespoke curriculum for all students with the addition of year 3 follow the Opening Worlds scheme. Opening Worlds is ‘a knowledge-rich humanities based programme characterised by strong vertical sequencing within subjects (so that pupils gain security in a rich, broad vocabulary through systematic introduction, sustained practice and deliberate revisiting) and by intricate horizontal and diagonal connections, thus creating a curriculum whose effects are far greater than the sum of their parts.’ [2] 

We further ensure children develop their ‘spatial thinking’ through geography by analysing the relationships between objects. For example, when presented with a map, children can visualise and draw on concepts previously learnt such as location, distance and direction and appreciate the sense of place and interconnectedness of the places they are studying. [3]

Children are taught to embody the role of ‘geographer’ and although delivered through an integrated curriculum, the subject of geography is referred to during legitimate geography lessons.

As with all subjects at Preston Park, the learning of geographical terms and vocabulary is prioritised. Some of this is linked to children communicating their ideas both throughout and at the end of a unit of learning both orally but also in creating and presenting maps, data and written findings. Correct spellings are insisted upon as well as an understanding of the geographical terminology.

We provide ample opportunities for learning outside the classroom which is crucial to the implementation of geography skills and knowledge. Children attend visits to the local community to conduct fieldwork and investigations, instilling a love of learning and curiosity about their environment. We also provide enrichment opportunities including visits from key speakers and high-quality workshops.

We have an inclusive approach which supports children with SEND. At Preston Park, teachers adapt and tailor their lessons to meet both the learning and physical needs of all children. Learning is differentiated for individual children to support their ability to access LOs alongside their peers. Simplified maps and atlases, alongside practical activities are embedded in our geography curriculum help to engage all children and support access to the geography curriculum.

What does this look for our children?

Children begin every topic by consolidating concepts from the previous topic(s) through retrieval tasks and re-visiting prior vocabulary. The Opening Worlds programme is a well-structured curriculum that sets out both the substantive and disciplinary knowledge children need to acquire by the end of their primary education. The programme builds a strong and increasingly complex schema that allows pupils to make connections between knowledge, embedding it into their long-term memory. This is more likely to generate curiosity in the subject, encouraging pupil motivation [3] [4]

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The early

The early learning goals in the EYFS [5] aim to guide a child in making sense of their physical world and their community by exploring, observing, and finding out about people, places, technology and the environment. Enquiry and exploration are central to all aspects of the EYFS, and form the foundations for future geographical learning. Much of this learning takes place through play and discussion and through the sharing of carefully selected literature and the development of children's speaking and listening capacity.

Through the specific area of learning, ‘Understanding the World’, children are supported to:

  • Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps; 
  • Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non-fiction texts and when appropriate – maps; 
  • Explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants; 
  • Know some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class; 
  • Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter. 

Through discrete lessons and continuous provision, the activities planned allow children to increase their knowledge and sense of the world around them through stories, exploration of their school grounds and local area and through play. The learning is separated into ‘People and communities’, ‘The World’ and ‘Past and Present’. The Early Learning Goals are outlined in our ‘Progression of Skills and Understanding’ document.

In EYFS, children begin to develop their geographical knowledge through exploration of maps, globes, atlases and make use of the vast school grounds to enhance their geography skills. They observe seasonal changes throughout the year and learn about different people and the jobs they do in our community. This is delivered through hands-on activities, play-based learning, visitors and workshops and external visits in the local area.



Areas of study

·        Past and present

·        People, culture and communities

·        The natural world


forward, backward, up, down, under, bigger, smaller, map, world, natural, man-made, road, town, city, country, weather, season, Wembley, London, road, house

Locational knowledge

·        Name and locate the road/town/city the school is in.

·        Name and locate UK and one other country on a map.

Place knowledge

·        Comment on what they notice of aerial views of the school environment.

·        Remark on children’s lives in other countries and compare to our own lives (travel to school, what they eat, where they live).

·        Explain how to care for the natural world around them.

Human and physical geography

·        Name features of the world made by people and features that are natural.

·        Make observation about the weather and changing seasons.

·        Observe how animals behave in different seasons.

Geographical skills and fieldwork

·        Draw simple maps of their immediate environment or maps from an imaginary story they are reading.

·        Use relative vocabulary (bigger, smaller)

·        Use positional language (forward, backward, up, down, under).


Key Stage One (Years One and Two)

As children move into KS1, they build on these strong foundations, developing their locational awareness, geographical skills and knowledge of physical and human geography. As well as learning about local geography, children enjoy having the opportunity to learn about different countries and places around the world including South America, the rainforests and countries within the UK. This is delivered through rich texts, exploration of maps, atlases and globes (including technological resources) and workshops and external visits.

Year One Year Two
Autumn Term Observational study of the school environment Understanding similarities and differences
Spring Term Where do you see from space? London
Summer Term Beside the Seaside The Shipping Forecast

Lower Key Stage Two (Year Three)

Year Three Year Four
Autumn Term




Rhine and Mediterranean



Spring Term

Settlements and Cities



Coastal processes and landforms



Summer Term



Climate and biomes




Upper Key Stage Two (Years Four to Six)

Year Five Year Six
Autumn Term Throw away fashion: the impact on our environment The Earth
Spring Term Earning a living Comparing people and places
Summer Term Mountains Local changes throughout history

Progression of Skills and Understanding

Our geography curriculum incorporates fundamental geographical knowledge and skills and affords pupils a firm foundation in the subject to develop their studies when they transition to secondary school. The ‘Progression of Skills and Understanding in Geography’ document refers to how geographical concepts and skills are planned to be revisited year on year to embed and create ‘hereafter knowledge’. 

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How does our Geography curriculum contribute to and develop our 21st Century learner?

At Preston Park, we meet the requirements of the National Curriculum for geography; providing a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum; ensuring the progressive development of geographical concepts, knowledge and skills; and developing in children a love for geography.

The outcome of a rich rigorous and connected experience of learning in geography will be a knowledge rich geographer who can:

  • Ask pertinent geographical questions;
  • Assess and critically evaluate potential answers to those questions;
  • Make reasoned judgements on the evidence;
  • Understand and empathise with the views of others;
  • Consider possible actions/reactions and their consequences;
  • Adopt a solution-focused approach to geographical challenges.

Our children will have built up a broad range of skills and will be able to apply these independently.

The outcome of meeting the requirements of the National Curriculum for geography ensures our children are well-versed in place and locational knowledge, human and physical geography and geographical skills and fieldwork. Children will be able to independently apply these skills to independently survey and navigate their local area.

To ensure our pupils leave Preston Park with the skills they require for further education and later life, we have created a progressive, knowledge-rich curriculum throughout the school. This ensures that not only are children ready to continue geography at Key Stage 3 and beyond at secondary school, but they are also able to use geography in many contexts in everyday life, something we actively encourage.

The impact and measure of this is to ensure that children are equipped with geographical skills and knowledge that will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world. We want the children to have thoroughly enjoyed learning about geography, therefore encouraging them to undertake new life experiences now and in the future.



Research frames our thinking in what we teach and how we deliver it to our children to ensure teaching and learning has maximum impact.

Please see references to the research linked above:

[1] DfE Geography programmes of study: key stages 1 and 2 - National Curriculum in England

[2] Opening Worlds - Scheme of Learning

[3] Research review series: geography

[4] Early Career Framework

[5] DfE Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage: Setting the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five