Monks Risborough embraces a topic based curriculum. Driven by key themes and core texts, a passion for learning is created, with a focus on contextualised learning through first hand experiences. This allows time for children to work in depth and build their knowledge and understanding across a range of subject areas, all linked in topic, which puts their learning into context. Geography and history quite often drive these topic areas and are often the foundations for each term’s theme.
History and geography are very closely linked, which often leads to them being planned together. Both subjects help children understand similarities and differences between societies and cultures and the impact of changes on people and places. The use of careful and varied research, evidence and fieldwork are also crucial in developing good knowledge and understanding in both subjects.
- To help children understand the present in the context of the past, promoting their sense of chronology.
- To encourage pupils to empathise with people of the past through role play, and to respect and celebrate differences.
- To develop children’s historical enquiry skills through using and evaluating evidence, asking and answering questions.
- To support them in working together to research topics, prepare arguments, organise events and present their findings in a variety of ways.
- To enrich other areas of the curriculum.
- To help children make sense of their own surroundings through learning about their own locality and the interaction between people and their environment.
- For children to develop an interest in the wonder of the world, including an appreciation of ethnic, cultural and economic diversity.
- To develop the skills necessary to carry out effective geographical enquiry.
- To develop a sense of responsibility towards the environment and an understanding of the human impact on the natural world.
Humanity units are planned and taught through half termly topics. The class teachers refer to the progression of skills grids that reflect the National Curriculum programs of study. (The progression of skills have been carefully re-mapped, to account for the change from a rolling-curriculum last year, to ensure appropriate coverage across phases). Each Topic has an overarching question, linked to our school values, that brings all of the learning together.
At Monks Risborough, we understand that in order to become experts, the children need to be taught specific historical and geographical skills and given the opportunity to develop a good understanding of the key questions. We believe that children learn best when they are inspired by a real purpose.
EYFS ‘Understanding The World’ is a specific area of learning. Development in this area involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment. We aim to deliver this through planned, purposeful activities, with a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities (see EYFS policy for more detailed information).
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC)
In Monks Risborough, the social development of our children is addressed through the way we explore and communicate with other communities worldwide. We develop their cultural understanding by providing opportunities for children to study places from communities different to our own. Their spiritual understanding is established through developing appreciation of these different communities across the world. This teaching gives opportunities for children to find out about and discuss global issues, which develops their moral views.
Personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship - Humanities contributes to the teaching of personal, social and health education and citizenship. Children learn about different cultures/nationalities both in the present and past tense.
Teachers assess children’s work in humanities through formative assessments - observing them working during lessons, class work and discussion. All pupils are encouraged to evaluate their learning (use of KWL grid) and to suggest ways to progress further with their knowledge and understanding. Teachers record the progress made by children against the learning objectives for their session on a distance marking document. During the unit of work, teachers use core progression of skills statements to make a judgement against the band statements; ‘working towards’, ‘working at’ or ‘working at greater depth’. These records enable the teacher to make an annual assessment of progress for each child, as part of the school’s annual report to parents. The teacher passes this information on to the next teacher at the end of each year.