‘The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.’ Theodore Roosevelt
At Courtwood we want our children to have a passion for the past, shown through an enthusiastic love of learning, with a sense of curiosity to investigate history. History is taught as a Learning Journey across a number of weeks, and children have the opportunity to be curious, ask questions, engage with sources and draw their own conclusions and judgements based on their understanding and subsequent interpretation. By the time they leave Courtwood for secondary school, our children have a strong knowledge and understanding of people and cultures, events and eras, from a range of historical periods and are able to make connections and comparisons between them. Children learn about key historical figures within their units of work and their importance or impact upon society at the time. Our knowledge organisers support the teaching sequences in classrooms. Learning in history is discrete, but children are encouraged to transfer their knowledge into their wider work, for example using their understanding of The Blitz in World War 2, to inform their writing in English.
We follow the National Curriculum Programme of Study for history at KS1 and KS2. The history curriculum is organised so that children study an aspect of British history (chronologically) in the autumn term of each year group, from Year 3 upwards, to ensure they can make connections and comparisons with historical periods that have already been studied. This also supports their understanding of chronology. In either the spring or summer term, each junior class then learns about an ancient civilisation or historical period (also chronologically), developing knowledge of concurrent civilisations and eras from around the world. In the infants, in autumn term, children learn about a significant national event, such as The Gunpowder Plot, and also study significant individuals, such as Guy Fawkes. In either the spring or summer term, they learn about significant global events and people beyond living memory, such as Florence Nightingale, and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. Each period studied begins with an overarching enquiry question that the children will seek to answer during the sequence of learning.
We use the historical overarching concepts (taught throughout all units of study) of constructing the past/characteristic features; chronology; continuity and change; cause and effect; significance and historical interpretation; historical enquiry and using sources as evidence, to incrementally build children’s knowledge and develop children’s understanding of these concepts across time. Further to this we have identified some of the ‘big ideas’ in history that we believe will further enhance children’s understanding and enjoyment of history. These are: invasion; law and order; settlements; conflict; progress and change; historical figures and religion and beliefs. Where these ‘big ideas’ arise in a teaching unit, children are encouraged to retrieve knowledge they have previously learned, to gradually build their understanding and be able to apply in different contexts, reason and make connections, strengthening their long-term memory.
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