At Charles Dickens, the history curriculum develops children’s knowledge of historical periods, events and significant individuals. Children learn key facts and concepts alongside skills such as chronological understanding, analysis and evaluation of historical evidence, empathy with people from different eras and how to compare and contrast life in different periods.
Children’s historical learning begins in Early Years with the familiar: their own pasts and those of their families. Our curriculum is structured largely chronologically, in Year 1 children look at pre-history and the dinosaurs, before studying a pair of stand-alone units: The History of Flight and Gunpowder, Fleabites and Flame. In Year 2, the chronological strand is picked up again with the Stone Age and Ancient Egypt. History is brought to life through a Great Fire of London walk and trips to the Golden Hind and Leeds Castle. These help to fire the children’s imaginations and enable them to empathise with the lives of children in different eras.
In Key Stage Two, continuing in a largely chronological order, the story of Britain is interwoven with studies of ancient civilizations. Children explore concepts of migration, empire, civilization, continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance. Immersive role-play experiences on trips to Butser Ancient Farm, the Ancient Technology Centre, the Ragged School and the Cabinet War Rooms develop children’s understanding of life in Britain in different eras. Studies of ancient civilisations of Rome, Egypt, Benin and Greece are supported by visits to the British, London and Horniman museums. Children express their learning through drama, art, discussion and writing. Many of our units are built around an enquiry question, giving a clear focus to the learning over the course of the lessons.
Each unit is supported by a Knowledge Organiser which details the key facts, vocabulary and skills for each unit. This is sent home in advance of the unit, allowing children to make a head start on their learning.