Geography Plan


Planning Template: Geography



  Title: SESE Geography Plan, Wexford ETNS




  Introductory Statement and Rationale


(a)  Introductory Statement:


This plan was formulated by the staff of Wexford ETNS in conjunction with the National Curriculum 1999. It will be reviewed and updated as part of Croke Park hours. The ethos of our school, needs of the children and the local environment were factors which influenced our planning for SESE Geography.



(b)  Rationale:


·       To benefit teaching and learning in our school

·       To conform to principles outlined in the Primary Curriculum

·       To review the planning for Geography in our school


Geography is the study of the Earth, its inhabitants and the interrelationships between them in the context of place, space and environment. It is concerned with the nature, distribution and interaction of human and natural features over the Earth’s surface, the processes which create, sustain or change these features, and the contribution they make to the distinctive character of places.

Geography helps children to make sense of their surroundings and the wider world. By studying their local environment and other areas, children learn about people and places and the interrelationships between them. They come to understand the natural and human processes and patterns present in these environments, and they can learn to appreciate the similarities and differences between places. Geography also provides opportunities to acquire a range of investigative, graphical and other skills.

Geography encourages children to appreciate the interdependence of individuals, groups and communities. It promotes an understanding of, and respect for, the cultures and ways of life of peoples throughout the world and it fosters an informed sense of individual and community responsibility for environmental care.






 Vision and Aims




We wish to nurture and develop the child’s natural curiosity for the world around them. We hope to harness their inquisitive attitude in a child-friendly, fun manner in order for the children to discover their sense of space, their sense of place.




The aims of social, environmental and scientific education are:

·       to enable the child to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes so as to develop an informed and critical understanding of social, environmental and scientific issues

·       to reinforce and stimulate curiosity and imagination about local and wider environments

·       to enable the child to play responsible roles as an individual, a family member and a member of local, regional, national, European and global communities

·       to foster an understanding of, and concern for, the total interdependence of all humans, all living things and the Earth on which they live

·       to foster a sense of responsibility for the long-term care of the environment and a commitment to promote the sustainable use of the Earth’s resources through his/her personal lifestyle and participation in collective environmental decision-making

·       to cultivate humane and responsible attitudes and an appreciation of the world in accordance with beliefs and values.





  Curriculum Planning

1.     Strands and Strand Units


The Geography Curriculum includes a number of strands:

·       Human environments

·       Natural environments

·       Environmental awareness and care.


These strands outline the content to be included in the Geography Curriculum at each of the four class levels. Each strand is subdivided into strand units. These units focus on particular themes within the strand.


Please see content document attached to this policy.



Human environments:


For many children, the environments which are of most importance to them are those which have been wholly or largely created by human activity. Children’s homes, the areas which surround them, their schools and play spaces, roads, streets, walls, fences and farmland have been shaped or created by the actions of people and their interaction with natural environments. A knowledge of these features helps the child to structure his/her experiences of the world.

Of even greater significance are the people who live and work in these environments and the events that occur in these places: the ways in which people interact with individuals and groups and how they move about, work, play and react to physical conditions. All these elements help to explain some of the features which people construct and they define the character of a place as significantly as any natural elements of the landscape.

It is a fundamental principle of the geography curriculum (and of the other curricula in SESE) that children should develop an understanding of the world through direct experience and activity. Thus the curriculum recommends that the exploration of human environments should be based firmly in the local environment of the child at all levels in the primary school, and should expand to include examples from a growing range of wider environments.

These studies should foster important aspects of the child’s social and attitudinal development. By exploring the lives of people in the locality and wider contexts, children should come to value the contribution of people from a diversity of cultural, ethnic, social and religious backgrounds. Children’s understanding and appreciation of their local, regional and national identity should be fostered and they should develop a sense of their European and global citizenship. Studying people’s social and economic interactions can make the child aware of human interdependence, not only between people within the local environment but between people in urban and rural areas, and between those in Ireland and beyond. In particular, the inclusion of units on development issues in the senior classes provides opportunities for children to explore how the lives and actions of people in developed and developing countries are interrelated.



Natural environments:


One of the major concerns of geographers has always been to explore, describe, explain and record the natural features of the Earth. These features — the mountains, hills, lowlands and other landforms, the seas, oceans, weather systems and climate — give places their distinctive character. A knowledge of these features and how they relate to one another is an impor tant aspect of children’s growing awareness of their environment. Geographers and geographical education are also concerned with examining how these features have been formed by physical forces and processes — for example, heating, cooling, erosion, deposition, movements of the Earth’s crust — and how flora and fauna interact with them.

As in the case of human environments, the curriculum provides for the exploration of natural features and processes in the local environment and the development of weather observation and recording skills at all levels in the primary school. As the children’s understanding of the features and processes are developed through local examples, this knowledge may then be applied in wider contexts and the curriculum recommends that older children should become familiar with some features from regional, national, European and global contexts. Finally, the study of natural environments introduces children to the wider setting of the Earth in the solar system and space, an area of knowledge which involves very abstract concepts yet one which has an inherent fascination for adults and children alike.


Environmental awareness and care

Geography is not just concerned with understanding and explaining the nature of environments but it inevitably leads to an informed concern for these environments. A fundamental aspect of the geography curriculum (and of SESE in general) will be to awaken in the child an appreciation of the environments which he/she encounters and a sensitivity to the impact of change and human actions on the character of these environments.

An enhanced perception of environments and environmental change should lead to the development of a sense of personal and community responsibility for environments and should foster the notion of people as custodians of the Earth for future generations. The strand Environmental awareness and care provides opportunities for the child to develop and apply knowledge and skills so as to contribute in a meaningful way to the discussion and resolution of environmental issues. These issues will range from matters of local concern to global environmental problems and many will arise out of children’s study of specific natural and human environments within the first two strands of the curriculum.

The areas of geography and science have complementary roles to play in the development of the child’s environmental awareness. For this reason the strand is repeated in each of these curricula and should be developed as a major cross-curricular theme throughout the primary school years.




2. Skills Development


Skills and concepts
The Geography Curriculum outlines the skills and concepts which children should develop including:


·       A sense of place and space

·       Maps, globes and graphical skills

·       Geographical investigation skills.


Please refer to curriculum for breakdown of the skills:


Junior and Senior Infants pp.22-23

1st and 2nd pp 34-37

3rd and 4th pp 50-53

5th and 6th pp 68-71



3. Children’s ideas


The ideas of the children are highly valued in our school which prides itself in being a child-centred school. The voice of the child is a valuable starting point for SESE lessons.

The approaches and methodologies used to ascertain the starting point for SESE topics are:

·       Talk and discussion

·       Questioning

·       Listening

·       Problem solving tasks

·       Drawings

·       Concept maps

·       Brainstorms

·       Teacher designed tests and tasks


Children are often asked to contribute to school planning for subjects e.g. purchasing of resources. This is done with consultation with our Student Council.



4. Approaches and Methodologies


The following   approaches and methodologies are used and recorded in termly and monthly plans:


  • Talk and discussion
  • Active learning
  • Collaborative learning
  • Problem solving
  • Skills through content
  • Using the environment
  • Co-operative learning
  • Photos & artefacts
  • ICT
  • Guided Discovery
  • Interviews/Surveys
  • Maps, globes and atlases
  • Simulation and models
  • Fieldwork
  • Story


The approaches and methodologies used vary in accordance with the strand. Please see Teacher Guidelines for approaches and methodologies for:

  • Places

The recommended sequence of:

  • Local
  • Regional
  • National
  • European
  • Non-European

Is used for learning about places.


  • Environment (T.G. pp 68-73)
  • Human Environments (pp. 81-96)
  • Natural Environments (pp.97-115)




5. Linkage and Integration


We aim to link and integrate SESE Geography where possible for the children. Opportunities for linkage and integration are seen across:


·       English

·       SESE History

·       SESE Science

·       Maths

·       Visual Arts

·       Drama

·       Learn Together (Religious Education Programme)

·       Music

·       Physical Edcuation



6. Multi-Grade Teaching


Strategies used include:

·       Thematic planning

·       Integration with other subjects

·       Selection of text books and resources

·       Classroom organisation




7. Assessment and Record Keeping


The school has in place an assessment policy whereby assessment is used to inform short and long term planning.


Assessment of Learning:


Assessment of learning focuses more on medium and long term assessment. Assessment of learning generally involves assessing a child’s learning at the end of a given period, such as the end of a unit of work, a week, a term or a year. The emphasis in assessment of learning is on measuring a child’s cumulative progress towards curriculum objectives,




·       Teacher designed tests and tasks

·       Weekly tests i.e., spellings and table checklists

·       Standardised Tests

·       Diagnostic Tests

Assessment for Learning


Assessment for learning is an on-going process of recognising and responding to the child’s learning in order to enhance it. This involves engaging children in their own learning through questioning, and discussion and involving children in peer and self-assessment. The child’s response to rich questions and his/her dialogue with the teacher and peers provide evidence of the child’s learning which can be used to direct future learning. The quality of a child’s response to a question can, for example, suggest further questions which lead the child to a greater understanding of an idea or concept. Central to the idea of the assessment for learning is the role of feedback in promoting children’s awareness of and participation in their own learning. Feedback that is focused on the learning or task in hand, that indicates next steps and that points to achievement and challenges has been shown to be integral to children’s classroom progress and confidence in learning.




·       Teacher Observations

·       Teacher Questioning (lower and higher order)

·       Discussion

·       Work Samples

·       Teacher designed tests and tasks

·       Portfolio

·       Self-assessment

·       KWL and Mind Maps

·       Peer Assessment

·       Standardised Test

·       Diagnostic Test

Retention of Records:

Please see our assessment policy.


8. Children with Different Needs

The Educate Together ethos states that ‘no child is an outsider’ We strive to have equality of access to the curriculum for all children irrespective of their social, emotional or educational needs. The following areas are areas for consideration when planning for differing needs within the school and classroom context.


·       Planning: Differentiation of planning for SESE. Differentiation can include:

·       Differentiating learning objectives ·       Differentiation by support ·       Differentiation by outcome
·       Differentiation of pace ·       Differentiation by resource ·       Differentiation by grouping
·       Differentiation by teaching style ·       Differentiation by task ·       Other


·       Supporting and learning through ICT

·       Communication and Language

·       Assessment

·       Managing Challenging Behaviour: Please see our Code of Behaviour for strategies used.


Please see www.ncca.ie for guidelines on supporting children with different needs.


9. Equality of Participation and Access


Equal opportunities are given to girls and boys to participate in classroom activities across all strands. Children for whom English is not their first language will be supported by their class teacher, EAL teacher or the Learning Support team. Geography is used as a tool to integrate and learn about various cultures and to celebrate difference. This works in accordance with our Learn Together programme.



  Organisational Planning

10. Timetable

Junior Cylce: 2 hours and 15 mins

Senior Cycle: 3 hours


Teachers may use a block of time or a cross curricular approach to the teaching of SESE.


Discretionary time is sometimes used for the teaching and learning of SESE.




11. Resources and ICT


All resources are stored in a central location for ease of access for all teachers and class levels. We add to a bank of resources as topics as covered. As we are a developing school we are adding to our resources over time. Money is collected from teacher’s class budgets and used as a pool to purchase new equipment.


Individual teachers use on-line resources and worksheets for their class level/topic.




Each class teacher has an IWB which is used as a resource for SESE, maps, pictures, Internet, The school has in place an Acceptable Usage Policy for the internet. We are also protected by a firewall.


Below is a suggested list of websites for SESE:


www.ideers.bris.ac.uk/meta/aboutus.html (earthquakes)
www.mccollam.com/fun/geoquiz (A fun interactive quiz on the countries in the world) www.sln.org.uk/geography

12. Health and Safety

Please see our Health and Safety Policy.



13. Individual Teachers’ Planning and Reporting



Teachers are required to plan for SESE on a long term and short term basis. All teachers use a similar planning template to ensure consistency throughout the school. Monthly plans are reviewed by the principal and are used to inform whole school planning, purchasing of resources.



The ncca template is used for reporting SESE results to parents at the end of the school year. Annual clinic meetings are used to report progress to parents.



14. Staff Development


The staff is given the opportunity for CPD in the area of SESE. Notices of courses are displayed in the staff room and brought to the attention of staff at staff meetings and through our on-line management system.


Resources are kept in a central location for ease of access.



15. Parental Involvement


As an Educate Together school we recognise and value parents as partners in education and as the primary educators of their children. Parents are involved in many ways in the school and in SESE.


·       Green School Committee

·       Gardening Committee

·       Parent Curriculum Meetings at beginning of the year

·       Website- information for parents

·       Parent Volunteers for trips and outings

·       Parent speakers on topics

·       Annual school reports

·       Annual parent-teacher meetings



16. Community Links


We have drawn up a list of areas of interest in the locality for the subject of SESE Geography.


Other agencies which may be involved in the SESE Geography plan are:

  • County Council
  • EPA
  • Wildlife Reserve
  • Outside speakers





  Success Criteria


  • Teacher’s preparation is based on this plan
  • Teacher/parent/ feedback
  • Feedback from children
  • Inspector’s reports
  • Feedback from second level schools


Key considerations were promoted:

  • Developing a sense of space and place
  • Children’s ideas used as starting point
  • Knowledge and skills of equal importance
  • The environment is the primary resource





(a)  Roles and Responsibilities

The plan will be supported by all the stakeholders, staff, children, parents and school management.



(b)  Timeframe

The plan is in place immediately following ratification from the Board of Management. It will be reviewed on a regular basis using Croke Park Hours.



(a)  Roles and Responsibilities

All staff members, Board of Management, children and parents as appropriate.


(b)  Timeframe

Reviewed on a bi-annual basis. Review 2015.



  Ratification and Communication

The policy document will be brought to the Board Management for ratification. It will be published on our school management system for ease of access for teachers as well as in hard copy form in the school. It will also be published on our school website for parents.


About our school

Multi-denominational – children of all denominations and none are equally welcome into our school. Co-educational – Educate Together schools are open to girls and boys and gender stereotyping is addressed and challenged. Child-centred – this applies not only to teaching and learning within the classroom but to all decisions at staff and management level, which must have the well-being of the children at their heart. Democratically-run – parents are viewed as a positive resource for the school. Parental involvement is welcomed and encouraged, where appropriate.


Wexford ETNS Privacy Notice

Please see Wexford Educate Together Privacy Notice as ratified by the BOM in June 2018.

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