Marcus Garvey famously wrote: “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
There are many great lines spoken about the importance of history, yet no one phrase can truly encapsulate why history matters. It is the story of the past and a form of collective memory; it is the story of who we are, where we come from, and can potentially reveal where we are headed. In recognition of this, it is our intent at Cedar Park School to produce a high-quality History education that enables all learners to gain the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
We aim to inspire learners’ curiosity to know more about the past and we are passionate that our children should be able to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence and develop their own perspective and judgements.
Through the study of History, pupils will understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change and also the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
History at Cedar Park School is supported by the Rising Stars scheme of work. Our curriculum is implemented in such a way which allows for teachers to adapt the learning to specific cohorts or lines of enquiry and our local area where possible.
Teachers encourage rich talk in classrooms in every lesson and children have the opportunity to evidence their learning in a variety of ways including verbal, written, pictorial and diagrammatic responses.
In order to ensure long-term knowledge, we revisit learning from both previous lessons and year groups and this is supported by the Rising Stars Scheme of work which logically builds and revisits prior learning. This helps the children develop a good understanding of complex historical ideas such as cause and consequence, as well as complex terms such as ‘Empire’ and ‘migration’.
In Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 History is taught through timetabled specific lessons on a half termly basis, alternating with Rising Stars Geography, with cross-subject links and references to help students embed holistic knowledge.
Where appropriate we use historical artefacts, visitors, workshops and visits to excite and intrigue our children to find out more about events and people from the past. We aim to give our children as much understanding as possible about what it was like to be around at a particular period in history by having practical and experiential lessons where possible.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, the 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. Practitioners encourage investigative behaviour and raise questions such as, ‘What do you think?', ‘What could it be used for?' and ‘How might it work?'. Collectively, this provides a solid foundation on which children will build as they move on to Key Stage 1.
At Cedar Park, we aim for our children to become confident historians with an enthusiasm for the past and a clearer understanding of how this continues to affect our lives today, whilst becoming more respectful of other nations, cultures and traditions.
Through their learning of History, the children will become increasingly critical and analytical within their thinking. They will be able to make connections between what they have previously learned and what they are currently learning, making informed and balanced judgements based on their knowledge of the past. We want them to become increasingly aware of, not just how historical events have shaped the wider world we live in, but also to understand this on a local level.
Where applicable, children will encounter or participate in high-quality visits/visitors to appreciate the impact of History and further ignite their passion for the past.
What Does History look like at Cedar Park?
History at Cedar Park begins with a High-5 in which children review the ideas and knowledge mastered in previous units, ready for their development within the new context. This ensures children’s knowledge is both transferred into long-term memory and fresh in their minds as we look to deepen their understanding.
While lessons are planned to ensure clear progression, History lessons are responsive and adaptable, with clear progression in steps between lessons that is driven from the children’s learning and questions around the topic.
At Cedar Park, we are passionate in providing a learning environment where a rich and varied use of language develops understanding, broadens vocabulary and expands children’s ability to communicate effectively with others. By making links, where appropriate, to our vocabulary-rich English learning, opportunities are given for children to embed these new words in a range of contexts.
Talk in History is encouraged in all lessons. As teachers, we encourage children to articulate their thinking. This can take many forms: asking questions of others in order to clarify understanding, debate contentious issues, justifying their thinking and responding in full sentences with the intention that everyone understands them.
We use written work, images, artefacts, primary and secondary sources of evidence, as well as a whole range of other techniques and resources, while addressing misconceptions that arise.
Pupils are encouraged to make decisions both independently and collaboratively, working flexibly to answer questions, reflecting on their interpretation of historical evidence. A ‘have a go’ ethos underpins our History learning, which encourages children to share thinking even when unsure and embrace our key behaviours of both perseverance and courage.
Challenge focuses on breadth and depth of understanding and expects the children to apply their knowledge in challenging scenarios, frequently asking children to reason, compare and justify.
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