What we do
At Morningside, our history curriculum is rigorously sequenced so that our children’s historical knowledge, understanding and skills build over time. We have selected and designed our units carefully so that our curriculum reflects our community and includes diverse narratives and voices.
Within our classrooms, we follow rich and ambitious lines of enquiry by answering big questions such as: Why is ancient Greece known as a cradle of civilisation? We teach children the knowledge they need in small steps to answer these challenging questions successfully. Studying history in this way inspires children’s curiosity, encourages them to ask critical questions and enables them to have a better understanding of the society in which they live and that of the wider world. In our history curriculum, we have thought about key themes that run through the units of learning.
Knowledge based themes
Concept based themes
Skills based themes
By carefully mapping these themes across the units and revisiting them in different sequences of learning, we ensure children make links and gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, national and international history; and between short- and long-term timescales.
How we do it
In our EYFS, children begin to develop their sense of chronology by talking about their own life story and the life story of family members. They are supported to use the past tense when talking about things that have happened. Our children explore images of the past and make comparisons with the present.
In KS1 and KS2, history is taught as a discrete subject in blocks in order to preserve the integrity of subject specific skills and knowledge. Teachers use planned sequences of lessons across each unit that build on and develop the children’s knowledge and skills.
In Key Stage 1, our curriculum enables children to develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They start to know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They make comparisons and connections between people and events in the past.
In Key Stage 2, children continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. This chronology is referred to throughout KS2 so that children become secure in their understanding of important historical events and eras. It also enables them to identify trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms such as ancient and civilisation. The explicit mapping and rigorous teaching of vocabulary ensures that children can gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’ or ‘legacy’.
Skills are selected to best match each unit of knowledge and progress year on year. Opportunities to practise and embed skills are planned for so that they are revisited and refined over time. The knowledge and skills that children will develop throughout each history topic are mapped across each year group and across the school to ensure progression. We also maximise the opportunities that our home city of London has to offer in terms of its rich history and vast array of museums and cultural sites. Therefore, children’s learning in history is enriched by visits to carefully selected museums, where workshops and visit materials deepen their understanding and knowledge. Teachers also use the Historical Association’s wealth of resources to develop their subject knowledge.
How we assess it
The impact of our history curriculum can clearly be seen in the children’s books. Our children’s historical understanding is also evident in class assemblies where children share their knowledge with their parents and the historical narratives our children recount.
The detailed unit overviews outline the enquiry question, knowledge (need to know) and skills that the children will explore during their learning. These are annotated as and when children achieve these during the course of the unit. These also showcase links between and across units studied so that children can refer to them and retrieve prior learning.
At the end of each unit, children work towards completing a longer piece of writing to answer the enquiry question which pulls together the knowledge and evidence base which they have studied during the unit.
Children also complete a short assessment called a Test It. These short independent tasks provide evidence for assessing against the assessment statements on the Unit Overview. The Test Its are carefully designed and require the children to recall their knowledge about the unit
During each unit, children complete a ‘Retrieve It’ which supports children to revisit previous learning in order to consolidate the ‘need to know’ learning. They are also encouraged to make links to previous units studied during each new unit. These links are outlined on the frontispiece for each unit.
At the end of the year, class teachers then use the children’s recorded work and assessments to make a judgment as to whether each child is working at the expected level.
History in the EYFS
In Early Years, understanding the world through History is an important part of our curriculum. ‘Understanding the World’ encompasses a range of early historical skills and knowledge. Children are encouraged to talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. Practitioners share historical stories, objects and pictures to prompt discussion using past, present and future tense. 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. Practitioners encourage investigative behaviour and raise questions such as, ‘What do you think?’, ‘Tell me more about?’, ‘What will happen if..?’, ‘What else could we try?’, ‘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’. Alongside planned learning, children are encouraged to follow their own interests and create ideas around their own schema.
Please click on the link below to see an overview of our history curriculum and core vocabulary:
Curriculum Overview History
Core Tier 2 History Vocabulary
Google Arts and Culture
BBC schools – History
WW2 bomb sites
This Day in History