Young Geographers: A Living Geography project for primary schools
The ‘Young Geographers’ project was a three-month pilot project funded by the TDA in 2008, which aimed to support teachers in planning for and carrying out a short unit of work with a focus on Living Geography. Teachers were asked to design some locality fieldwork, thinking about aspects of ESD and personalising planning to suit their school context. View Young Geographers project resources here.
‘Living Geography’ is geography which is alive and relevant. It supports and encourages curiosity about the wider world through an enquiry approach and develops pupils’ ability to give creative and critical responses to everyday issues. In this way, it is bound up with education for sustainable development (ESD) and has a strong fieldwork component to underpin active engagement.
Twenty teachers (ten in the north of the UK and ten in the south) were recruited for two parallel projects to work and develop active locality fieldwork using the concept of Living Geography. We were lucky enough to have a tremendous response and to enrol teachers representing Foundation through to key stage 3.
A diverse array of work was completed by teachers to illustrate how they responded to this challenge in such a short time. Examples of their work are on the website.
Feedback from the teachers involved was extremely positive. Participants reported how their confidence and enthusiasm for carrying out fieldwork increased, as did their knowledge of planning using real contexts and issues. Pupils were enthusiastic, engaged and motivated.
Within many of the schools involved, there were some much wider, positive impacts in which colleagues, parents and governors realised that geography is actually a very exciting and relevant subject.
We hope to build on the successes of this project by extending its reach to teachers in other parts of the UK. Keep an eye on the GA website for information about how you could get involved.
Paula Owens and Wendy North
Young Geographers Project Leaders