If you want to know how a river is formed, ask one of our Year 4 children. They know how to measure its depth, speed and width because they’ve been out and done it. They have also tested the pH of the water, looked at what’s living in it and studied surrounding issues, such as flood defences.
Back in the classroom, we might make a model of the Thames Barrier, recreate the course of a river in the playground or examine the cleanliness of the water through a House of Commons debate.
If you hadn’t already guessed, we like our children to study the planet first-hand wherever possible. Year 5 might find themselves swinging through the trees at Penhurst Outdoor Experience or studying coastal erosion and long-shore drift at St Issey, Cornwall. Meanwhile our Year 6 pupils go rock-climbing and gorge-scrambling in Wales as part of their mountain environment lessons – and end up conquering the summit of Snowdon.
We make a point of teaching the children about the impact mankind has on the planet and the importance of protecting it for future generations. The three Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle – become second nature. We learn about food production by growing fruit and vegetables in the school garden and then eating them for lunch! Sustainability makes sense when you visit an eco centre and learn about energy consumption in our Switch-off fortnight.
Political geography is introduced through discussions on issues such as Britishness and how it has changed in the last 50 years, while finding out about the lives of Inuits help our Year 3s to develop a global outlook. After all, technology, population movements and trade have made our big world a smaller place and they need to find their place in it.