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Early Years and Primary geography

Primary geography research

According to Catling (2013) research into younger children’s geographical learning is limited. Whilst there have been some investigations into primary children’s geographies and young children’s map understanding and development, there remains significant gaps within primary geography research.

 There is a need for more rigorous and systematic research, yet this is hampered by lack of funding. As Catling (2013: 178) acknowledges ‘too many intentions and expectations for primary geography’ are ‘based on hope, not evidence.’


Gaps in primary geography education research and future possibilities

The following gaps have been identified as areas for further study: children’s geographies, children’s geographical learning, teaching geography to younger children, the geography curriculum for younger children and the policy and historical contexts of younger children’s geographical education. Primary geography education offers opportunities for previous studies to be revisited in the light of contemporary contexts and for new investigations to be undertaken to offer teachers a richer, more informed evidence base from which to develop classroom practice.

To read more:  Catling, S. (2013) The need to develop research into primary children’s and schools’ geography. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 22, (3),177-182.


Aspiring to high-quality primary geography

Professor Simon Catling, Chair of the GA’s EYPPC PGQM Study Team, and five members of the GA’s Early Years and Primary Phase Committee (EYPPC) studied the moderator feedback reports to schools that have achieved the GA’s Primary Geography Quality Mark (PGQM). They have shared their findings in Aspiring to High-Quality Primary Geography.

This significant report provides an insightful and well-grounded account of the importance of leadership across a school for developing stimulating and high-quality primary geography. The school’s leadership team, the geography leader, its class teachers and the pupils all play essential roles and make key contributions to the status of and policies for geography, its management and resourcing and the teaching and learning of geography.

The report has been written to encourage, support and evidence ways to improve and develop geography in early years and primary schools. Acting on its clear advice will improve your primary geography. Entering for the GA’s PGQM award is an invaluable way to take your school’s geography forward, for the evident benefit for all in the school.

Key sources of Geographical Education Research for primary geography

Key research articles

Many of the items are still relevant as key pieces of research in the absence of any more recent primary geography research. These remain key research in the field of primary geography.

Other useful articles published for general reading

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