History has been part of the full curriculum review in 2017/2018 and is now central to 'The Big Question' that is being asked in our Circle of Life non-core curriculum work. We have recently updated the subject action plan, ready for the second half of the year, and during leadership time have been analysing evidence over time of the children's methods for historical enquiry and how they consider continuity and change.
At St. James' our history curriculum is designed to embrace themes such as equality, diversity, democracy, respect and tolerance. We therefore offer a history curriculum that we can learn from and learn about - creating stronger, more rounded, young people who are ready for the future - as our vision states. Our Christian values of Peace and forgiveness and hope are constant themes which are also embedded in our history curriculum. We see history as the ideal way to foster the children's values and work hard to show how history is shaped by people, places and events which represent all groups in our global community and not just a white-British reflection of history. We want to challenge their thinking and open up their view of the world.
Our theatre club are currently preparing a show which centres upon the history of seaside theatre and how this has changed over time. The show tracks the history of variety in this country and how attitudes and interests have changed towards this. It is a fabulous opportunity to actively engage the children in a study of leisure and entertainment in the 20th century. It is interesting to see how passionate the children become when rehearsing for the show and how deeply they consider the different bias and viewpoints that each of their characters display. It is our aim to make extra-curricular history an active, role-play experience and 'on With The Show' does exactly that. We await the final outcome in July!
The reception children learn about history through their 'Understanding the World.' The children look at their own lives and describe special events, we aim for them to use past, present and future forms accurately when doing so. Recently, The Jolly Postman has been used as stimulus to look at the history of bikes and the similarities and differences of bikes throughout time. Books are often chosen as the ideal way into history topics and act as a stimulus for the children exploring history across reception.
KS1 have been looking at toys through time, comparing old and new. Teaching chronology by taking one aspect of history and studying this in detail is our deliberate aim here. We try not to cover too much and here we want to capture their interest and then look at change over time in one area. To do this, the children have brought in their own toys to look at and discuss, and compare these to older, 'traditional' toys, which their grandparents may have played with - we have gathered a range of primary and secondary sources for this work.
Children will then be taught about the lives of significant individuals through their next Circle of Life theme which considers famous people through history. They will look at how key people, such as Christopher Columbus, Rosa Parks and Mary Seacole, have contributed to change and achievements in society through key events beyond living memory. We want our younger children to have access to more challenging history themes and consider equality, diversity and democracy within their historical learning. This topic also enables the children to consider why there are different viewpoints on history and how important it is to look at many sources of evidence.
The changing power of monarchs and changes in social history are the focal point for the study of Tudor England and the lives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. This is a fabulous opportunity to consider social diversity and inequality. This is also a great opportunity to shape deep, historical questions about the actions of those in power at the time. Being able to study a range of sources and consider bias and viewpoint is also central to this topic.
Children have gained an understanding of Britain's past and that of the wider world- through their recent wartime topic. How people's lives changed during these times, and how these significant events have impacted upon our world today have been key questions. Children have, and will continue to, respond to enquiry questions and use primary and secondary sources of evidence to help them piece together the past and gain an understanding of the term 'civilisation' in their learning about Ancient Egypt. Children have become 'amazing archaeologists,' just like Howard Carter, and have learned to construct the past from a range of sources and consider 'Is it right to unearth the past?' through this work. Discussion and debate are often used as ways to consider the impact of historical events and whether individuals were right to take the action they did during these times.