In History, we hope to inspire curiosity in our girls to want to learn more about the past. Independent thinking skills, perceptive questions and analysis of evidence are all encouraged, while the skills of empathy and the ability to use the appropriate vocabulary are nurtured.
In Years 1 & 2 girls are taught about changes within living memory through topics such as Toys and Homes. They are taught about events beyond living memory such as The Great Fire of London and learn about the lives of significant individuals such as Florence Nightingale.
Year 3 learn about Ancient Egypt and Roman Britain, Year 4 study the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings, while Year 5 learn about life in Victorian Britain and are then given the opportunity to learn about a world civilization in the form of the Mayans. Year 6 study the Second World War and the Ancient Greeks. In this way, girls see how Britain has evolved but they can also compare it with other cultures.
We use a wide range of resources in our studies, wherever possible trying to bring History to life through imaginative use of ICT, the internet and artefacts. In addition, appropriate visits are arranged to places of historical interest. Recently, these have included the British Museum, Hever Castle, The Victorian Schoolroom in Guildford, Fishbourne Roman Palace and Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.
The main aims in Geography are to give the children a broad general knowledge and understanding of the world around them, and to stimulate their interest in their local surroundings. Girls are presented with opportunities for study within their local environment so that through knowledge and practical experience, they will develop a greater understanding of the physical and human conditions within their own area. This work is then extended to cover areas and regions within the U.K. and in other parts of the world. Girls develop locational knowledge from Year 1, learning to name and locate continents, oceans, countries and cities, identifying features and making comparisons.
Through discussion and reference to the globe, atlases and world maps, the children are helped to understand some of the important physical systems – landforms, weather and climate, vegetation, rivers, animal and plant life as well as considering important topics such as sustainable development, recycling, conservation and endangered animals. Communication, population and workforce of some areas will also be included. Mapwork, fieldwork and information technology form an important part of the syllabus.
Religious Education aims to develop each girl’s understanding of the major religions of the world. Religions that are studied include Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Girls gain knowledge and understanding about these different religions and are encouraged to reflect on each faith’s identity and experience, meaning and purpose and values and commitments. Girls are encouraged to ask and to make informed responses to questions. There is a strong emphasis on developing, in the girls, tolerance and respect for all religions whilst also giving them the opportunity to explore their own faith.
Personal, Social, Health Education and Citizenship
All children have dedicated curriculum time to learn about Personal, Social and Health issues, which aims to help them to make informed choices as they grow older.
Included in this study is discussion and learning about how to be a good citizen.
Girls are encouraged to learn how they can contribute positively to the many communities in which they live. PSHE +C is often linked to the topics in Assembly.
Tops morning of meditation and mindfulness
Visit to Buddhapadipa, Buddhist Temple in Wimbledon
Nestled amongst the leafy suburban houses in Wimbledon and just off the bustling High Street, lies a tantalising taste of Thailand. It appears unexpectedly on an otherwise ordinary road and lifts you abruptly out of your routine world to be greeted by voices speaking in Thai and the sight of Buddhist monks in their traditional saffron robes.
Our first sight was of the peaceful gardens with their elegant bridges which are looked down upon by a gold statue of Buddha, who stands in front of the Dharma wheel. By the time we climbed up from here to the temple itself, we were convinced that we were anywhere but London.
Our monk guide gave us a very informative talk about Buddhism and about the paintings on the walls in the Temple, which depict the life of Buddha, but also detail various influences from diverse cultures, from Colonel Gaddafi and Margaret Thatcher to Superman! Well done to India for finding a well-disguised image of the Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben!
The girls were asked to repeat certain affirmations to help them remember more about Buddhist beliefs and were even thrown complex maths questions (thank you to Jemima for saving us all with the answers!).
Fully informed, we were then led through a walking meditation: a new experience for all of us and one that I am sure the girls especially will remember. It was particularly interesting to learn that meditation is present in every activity that the monks undertake in the form of mindfulness. Indeed the monk made an expeditious exit at 11 o’clock, the time of one of their most mindful events of the day: lunch!
Back to reality and back to school in time for our own lunch and the girls probably did not linger too long on the novel experience they had just had, and yet I am certain that it is one on which they will return to reflect for a long time to come.