There is an external landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives.
Whether we are aware of it or not there is a geographer within us all. Where would we be without it?
Geographically we are all somewhere and that somewhere is on planet earth. The earth offers diversity both from a human and physical perspective. Whatever interests and inspires us however great or small be sure that it is ever-changing and impacting on us in some way.
Within the Geography Department we are very passionate about discovering how the world works and how change affects its fragile existence. Through our teaching we adopt the “Enquiry Approach”. This allows the children to ask questions such as: Where is it? What is it like? How did it get like that? Who lives there? and How is it changing? Coupled with this the children draw on their own personal experiences to bring more insight, interest and relevance to their studies. Perhaps of greater importance, is the fact that children are encouraged to think for themselves and to formulate opinions. The priority is to instil a healthy enthusiasm for the subject not just within the prep school but onwards into senior school and beyond.
How do we teach Geography at the Oratory Prep School?
The needs of the pupil are paramount and the teaching reflects this. Geography has long embraced the variety of technology on offer. The internet is used for research and projects and there is an interactive whiteboard in the geography room which is utilised during lessons. Together with a range of up to date textbooks, ICT, a modern library, fieldtrips and a variety of teaching skills, all styles of learning are catered for.
Geography is taught as an independent subject from Year 3 upwards and by a subject specialist in the top three year groups. In years 3 and 4 pupils have two lessons of geography a week and from years 5 upwards in preparation for Common Entrance and Scholarship there are three lessons a week and a set prep. Both Global Location knowledge and Ordnance Survey mapwork are two very important life skills taught and these are complimented by a number of thematic studies which includes: earthquakes, volcanoes, weathering, erosion, rivers, coasts, weather and climate, economic and environmental geography. The value of fieldwork is also integrated throughout both the pre-prep and prep.
We are firm believers that geography is not restricted to the classroom. Field work utilises the extensive school grounds, local farms, villages and towns and even residential fieldtrips away. Whatever the experience, the children have the opportunity
to use their inquisitive skills. Each opportunity provides the children with a first hand experience of the world around them and to put into practice what has been learnt in the classroom.