In our EYFS the focus in history is on the children’s own lives and their families, and through topics and stories. In Nursery our children share ’All about Me’ books and talk about their wider family, and how they themselves have changed since they were born. In Reception the children build on this via a topic on ‘Toys’, which is built around key stories and the children’s own toys, the toys of significant people (grandparents, staff members) and toys from the local museum. Activities and discussions focus on comparing, similarities and differences, change and chronology. Simple time lines and vocabulary are introduced when the toys are ordered in terms of who played with them. Alongside this are stories, books and discussions about the days of the week, seasonal changes and cycles, birthdays, discussing families, and milestone changes in their own lives eg starting school, moving into Y1.
In KS1 history is taught on a two yearly cycle. Building on the history skills and topics covered in the EYFS, our children’s historical learning includes finding out about the achievements of Roger Bannister, the history of our school, and significant events and individuals beyond living memory including The Great Fire of London, Florence Nightingale and The First Moon Landing. Social history is covered when the children compare seaside holidays of the present and the past. Our children learn what makes an event or individual significant in history and how they have influenced the present. They make comparisons and are introduced to key vocabulary. They are introduced to some of the sources historians use to find out about the past, and whether they are an original source or an interpretation. The concrete time lines introduced in the EYFS are extended by using more abstract time lines which include events personal to the children, their grandparents and also the events they have studied that are beyond living memory.
In lower KS2 our children broaden their historical knowledge and concept of the past by beginning with a study of The Stone Age to the Iron Age. This is followed by topics on The Romans and the Ancient Egyptians. They continue to learn about significant events and individuals in British history, but begin to see a wider picture of the history of Great Britain in relation to European and then world history. This builds on the understanding of time lines as used in KS1. Significant events covered in KS1 are plotted on the time lines, but the children now learn how longer periods of time and different civilisations fit with what they have already learnt. They make comparisons and discuss how people lived and their beliefs, the significance and achievements of civilisations, and their impact on the present and the children’s own lives. They examine a wider range of sources of evidence and build on their experience in KS1 with more of a focus on inferring for themselves when comparing interpretations of history and sources of history.
In upper KS2 our children continue to study significant events, individuals and civilisations in history while also applying the knowledge and skills they have gained at Bure Park. A local study of Bicester gives our children an understanding of where they fit and Bicester’s place in British history, making connections with periods and events already studied and key events specific to Bicester. They continue to learn about ancient civilisations as in lower KS2, including the Greeks and Mayan civilisations, and periods of British history, including the Saxons and Vikings, and the lives of the Windrush generation. Our children are expected to be more critical of the historical evidence and make their own inferences. They bring together all topics studied during their time at Bure Park on a time line, using their understanding of the order of what they have learnt and how long ago they occurred. Our children consider the legacies and impact of the civilisations they have already studied, and are encouraged to make connections and use their prior knowledge, for example between the Roman invasion and Saxon invasions of Britain.