Different schools will rightly make different choices as to where they might choose to study. What is important is that you can justify to others why you made your choice; that is why this place and location is significant or important for your children to learn about. In one school it may be a place in a part of the world with which many members of their community have connections; in another it may be because there is a school link; in another it may be that a member of staff has been able to access a range of resources that enrich the teaching about that place. What is important is that the scale of study remains small. Think of this place as somebody else’s local area. It is local in scale even though it might not be geographically local to you. The children are more likely to connect with a study of a small area, a part of a town, or an area within a large village. Again think about how you are going to use the guidance advice in relation to mapwork, developing locational knowledge and teaching about the environment, and how you are going to develop the children’s vocabulary. There might well be an opportunity here to extend their vocabulary, so do extend your list of Glossary of Terms. Our guidance piece on coping with the coping with the regional demands of the national curriculum may also be helpful.
You need to consider careful how you are going to ask your children to consider similarities and differences within and between localities. When engaging children with places it is very helpful for them to be supported in making connections between those places. This helps children to build up their knowledge in relation to some of geography’s big ideas or key concepts. Children will build up a stronger conception of the term ‘mountain’ if connections are made with their prior understanding of that term. So whenever you introduce children to a place and location that is new to them make time to explore and discuss both similarities and differences with them. But, if you simply focus on that which is similar, children may feel that everywhere is the same. Equally, if you only focus on differences then the children may feel that everywhere beyond the familiar is exotic! Children could be asked to look at images of places and to group the images (remember – always share the location of the images, by using maps globes and / or atlases as appropriate) to help them do this. It is important to help children see and appreciate the similarities and differences within places – including their own – to help them realise that places and communities are diverse and that this gives richness to these places. What is particular about their own and others’ places is important to people’s lives. It helps children begin to realise the value of diversity everywhere and to see themselves as in and as members of the wider whole world.