Infant School History Curriculum
Our History curriculum is designed to develop children’s interest and knowledge about the past, how people used to live and how lives have changed over time. We plan to teach and build skills which allow the children to investigate the past and form a sense of how people lived in the past. Our focus is on enquiry-based learning that encourages pupils to develop and use the investigative skills and historical language needed to make sense of the past. By teaching in this way, our aim is for pupils to develop a sense of confidence in how to find out about the past, while making connections about people, places and events in the past.
Our history curriculum is carefully planned and structured to ensure that new learning is linked to previous learning and that the school’s approaches are informed by current pedagogy. We aim for all pupils to be able to see themselves as ‘historians’ because we encourage them to be curious, ask important questions, look for clues or evidence and make comparisons.
Children in EYFS learn about the past through their work in ‘Understanding The World’ and extensive use of stories to develop the early language of sequencing events and time. In order to teach the current National Curriculum for history at KS1, the History teaching at Prestbury St Mary’s Federation aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Develop an awareness of the past, and use language related to the passing of time
- Learn about where the periods studied fit in a chronological framework
- Identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods
- Are able to ask and answer questions using sources and stories
- Learn about some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented
- Learn about changes within living memory, especially those which had a lasting impact on people’s lives
- Learn about events beyond living memory which had a lasting impact on people’s lives
- Learn about the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements
- Learn about historical places in our locality
- Creatively and inquisitively explore the past through artefacts and experiences such as drama and theme days.
- Develop independence and decision-making skills when demonstrating or recording their historical understanding
Prestbury St Mary’s teachers are committed to designing an enquiry-based history curriculum. The Progression of Skills and Curriculum Overview documents are used to inform planning, ensure a consistent approach and enable a clear progression of both knowledge and skills across the school.
Pedagogy research has been implemented into our planning to allow all pupils to access the curriculum. There is not an over reliance on literacy skills to be able to access history, allowing our lower achieving pupils to access, enjoy and achieve well in history lessons.
History units of work are designed using the following format so that enquiry-based skills and active thinking are key features of learning:
- Chronological understanding- Where does the period of time we will study fit into their existing framework of knowledge?
- Engagement- A ‘hook’ (e.g. picture, artefact) to stimulate interest before giving them further information. Choose something to inspire interest & questions
- Present the key question for the unit of work (e.g. Why do we still remember Grace darling today?)
- Each session then presents a ‘sub question’ which helps us to answer the key enquiry question. Through using focussed sub questions, we can narrow in on the skills and knowledge needed to be successful historians. Various sources should be used by the children to answer questions. They should also be encouraged to ask questions, with time allowed to find the answers.
- The unit should finish with the pupils able to talk confidently about their thoughts and responses to the original key question.
- The concept of change should also be considered at the end of a unit of work (e.g. what changed as a result of Grace Darling’s sea rescue?)
- There should not be a reliance on literacy skills during history lessons. Recording through writing should only be used if it is the best way for pupils to show their understanding in a specific lesson. Any written materials used by pupils must be accessible for the lowest 20 % of readers. Thought is given to how best achieve this (e.g. grouping/ pair work/ careful selection of resources).
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum supports children’s understanding of History through the planning and teaching of ‘Understanding the World’. This aspect is about how children find out about past and present events in their own lives, their families and other people they know. Children are encouraged to develop a sense of change over time and are given opportunities to differentiate between past and present by observing routines throughout the day, growing plants, observing the passing of seasons and time and looking at photographs of their life and of others. Additionally, links are made to historical figures or events that are both within or beyond living memory if they are of interest to our pupils, such as Mary Anning or the first moon landing which are introduced and taught through the enquiry-based approach. Practitioners encourage investigative behaviour and raise questions or comments such as, ‘I wonder why?', ‘Tell me more about?', 'What will happen if?', ‘Could we try something else?', ‘What could it be used for?' and ‘How might it work?'. Use of language relating to time is used in daily routines and conversations with children for example, ‘yesterday', ‘old', ‘past', ‘now' and ‘then'.
A record of children’s work and thoughts are collected in floor books and some work will be recorded in pupils’ topic books. If pupils are able to demonstrate their learning at the end of a unit of work they are deemed to be making good or better progress.
The subject leader regularly monitors planning and speaks to pupils about their learning and enjoyment of history.
At our school ‘pupil voice’ demonstrates that pupils are able to talk about what they have learnt in history using some subject specific vocabulary. Pupil voice also demonstrates that pupils enjoy history and are able to recall their learning over time. Pupils’ work shows that history is taught at an age appropriate standard across each year group. Work is of good quality and demonstrates pupils are acquiring knowledge, skills and vocabulary in an appropriate sequence.
Through high quality history teaching we will see the impact of history learning in different ways:
Through pupil voice children will be able to talk about the knowledge they have acquired.
Children will be engaged in History lessons and want to find out more.
Work in pupils’ books and floor books will show that a range of topics are being covered with cross curricular links made where appropriate.
The school environment will be history rich through displays, resources, vocabulary etc.
Assessments and monitoring will show standards in History will be high and will match standards in other subject areas.