"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots." Marcus Garvey (a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator)
History is: ordering events in time; finding differences and similarities; writing and talking about the past; using different sources for information; asking and answering questions. All classes in each year group will do all of these at some point and aim to link ‘then’ with ‘now’.
EYFS is very much focused on the memories of the child. It may be that we ask them to remember a special event or routine or custom for their family. They may talk about differences between different family members or different generations.
Children will learn about specific people or events that are both within and beyond living history. Teachers have flexibility to choose who or what they would like to teach about, focusing on Role Models for the children. The choices are often Thinkers and Collaborators, who engender the best of what has been said or done; popular choices often include people like Tim Peake, Florence Nightingale, Nelson Mandela, Stephen Hawking.
In Key Stage 1, events such as the Great Fire of London, the global success and enduring popularity of LEGO, or themes such as castles or toys lend themselves very well to learning about the past.
From Year 2 onwards and throughout Key Stage 2, the children will learn about the following periods of British history:
- Stone Age
- Ancient Romans
- Anglo Saxons and Scots
- The Vikings
- A local history unit
- A period of history later than 1066 (e.g. World War 2, Victorians, Tudors).
Children will also be introduced to some world civilisations in history, to contrast with British history:
- Ancient Greeks
- Ancient Egyptians
- The Mayans
How can I support my child with History?
- Topic Days
Teachers love parents and grandparents who are prepared to come in and help on these days, or who can come and talk to their class, if they have a specific knowledge about a period of history e.g. life before the internet (yes, this does now count as history!), the moon landings, or rationing.
- Visit Museums or Historic Houses
Talk about the topics that they are doing. The children who love history are often the ones who have seen a love of the past in their parents. There are many excellent, free museums, e.g. the Ashmolean, Pitt Rivers, Natural History, Wantage. Use them as a resource and spend quality time sharing the past together. Otherwise, watch age-appropriate history programmes on TV.
- Read fantastic Children’s Books based in the Past.
Whilst these are often fiction, there will be facts and figures in the books that children will remember. Some good examples include: anything by Caroline Lawrence (the Roman Mysteries), Goodnight Mr Tom (WW2 and evacuation), Stig of the Dump (Clive King) and picture books or non-fiction books that you can share at bedtime.
Finally, if all else fails, embrace the Horrible Histories approach and go for the gross! Knowing about toilet etiquette in Roman times, that the Ancient Greek men did sports naked, or that the Ancient Egyptians used to hook the brains of dead people out through their nose before mummification will be enough to liven up any conversation about history!
- Useful Weblinks.
- The BBC website (though no longer being updated) has lots of links to videos, games and information about a range of historical periods.
- Try Teaching History with 100 Objects for some great ideas for using artefacts to teach history.