History is an important part of the curriculum because the past influences all aspects of our lives. It shapes the customs and beliefs of the communities to which we belong. Learning about the past and the methods used to study it helps pupils make sense of the world in which they live.
From Foundation Stage we encourage children to ask questions and discuss the past, making comparisons with their world as it is now. Children explore the immediate world around them, by learning about past and present events in their own lives and the lives of their family members. Artefacts, books, photographs and re-enacting simple everyday situations from the past all help to raise awareness of the passage of time and develop the children’s understanding of simple vocabulary such as ‘before’, ‘after’, ‘past’, ‘present’, ‘then’ and ‘now’. We often choose themes which give us scope to learn about things from the past (e.g. dinosaurs) and teach the children about theme based historical events such as Apollo 11 during our space theme. Timelines are also used within the Foundation Stage to help order the language of time, e.g. last year, last week, yesterday, today etc as well as daily routines.
At Key Stage 1, the children make comparisons between aspects of their own lives and the lives of others, looking at changes within their living memory. Children are taught about key historical events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally. They also look at the lives of significant individuals in Britain’s past who, have contributed to our nation’s achievements and influenced the way we live today.
At Key Stage 1 the aim is for the children to:
- be aware of the past, using common words and phrases relating to time
- fit people/events into chronological framework
- identify similarities/ differences between periods
- use wide vocabularly of everyday historical terms
- ask and answer questions
- understand some ways we can find out about the past.
At Key Stage 2, units have mostly been allocated in chronological order to enable children to know and understand history as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day. We want the children to be able to see the bigger picture of the past, knowing when different time periods occurred, what happened in these different periods and what life was like. We also want the children to be able to understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance and use them to make connections, draw contrasts and analyse trends.
At Key Stage 2 the aim is for the children to:
- Continue to develop chronologically secure knowledge of history.
- Establish clear narratives within and across periods studied.
- Note connections, contrasts and trends over time.
- Develop the appropriate use of historical terms.
- Regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions.
- Understand how knowledge from the past is constructed from a range of sources.
- Construct informed responses by selecting and organising relevant historical information.
- Understand that different versions of the past may exist.
St Hugh’s provides a variety of opportunities to enable children to develop their skills by taking an enquiry based approach to teaching and learning. Our aim is to equip pupils to ask questions, think critically, weigh up evidence and arguments and make connections, as well as using historical vocabulary to describe the past.
We aim to inspire pupil’s curiosity of the past and equip them with the skills to become historical detectives!