‘The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.’ – Theodore Roosevelt
At St John’s we aim to give pupils a passion for history by making it accessible to all. We believe it is important that children have lessons that inspire, motivate and develop their knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We want children to enjoy learning about the past and make connections between the past and the society in which they live today.
By hanging our history themes around an overarching enquiry question, our curriculum allows pupils to develop their curiosity about the past, understand the process of change over time (including key historical events) and how that past has shaped the world today. It provides opportunities for the children to ask historically valid questions, handle artefacts, examine sources and draw conclusions. To enrich the children’s learning we aim to provide first-hand experiences with role play, class visits, workshops and visiting experts playing an important role in our themes. In addition to dedicated history lessons, the children are provided with opportunities to use their historical knowledge within other subject areas.
By the end of Year 6, it is our aim to have provided children with robust, knowledge-rich learning opportunities, to ensure they leave us as active, naturally curious learners about our country and world’s history.
Key ideas and concepts are built upon in each key stage, including the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The learning is structured around themed units, where history may drive a particular unit.
Within the EYFS, children are supported to order and sequence simple events, answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions in response to stories or events, look closely at similarities, differences, patterns, change and themselves (including their families) and recognise and describe special times or events for family and friends.
As the children move up through the school, they develop and build upon British and world historical knowledge, start to develop an awareness of the past, use common words and phrases relating to the passing of time and begin to understand how to fit people and events studied into a chronological framework. They should have greater confidence in understanding ways we find out about the past and be able to choose and use parts of stories and other sources to show understand of key historical concepts.
As they reach Key Stage 2, these areas will be explored in greater depth: children will develop and secure knowledge of history by placing periods studied in chronological order, note connections and trends over time, understand that knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources and in turn understand that different versions of the past may exist. They should be able to describe and make links between main events, situations and changes within and across different periods and societies. As well as, describing social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity in Britain and the wider world.
At all stages we encourage the children to think critically, making links and observations about their learning. We incorporate opportunities for experiencing local history and the development of historical skills – such chronological understanding and construction of timelines; the importance of investigation and critical thinking by asking questions and interpreting the information presented to them; develop competence in recognising the continuity and change between events and periods; identify the cause and consequence of events and situations; and the incorporation of historical vocabulary.