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Charney Manor Primary Geography statement
17 March 2020

Humanities 20:20 is delighted to publicize the following statement from the Charney Manor Primary Geography Conference in February 2020, as it accords strongly with the thinking of Humanities 20:20, from the perspective of experienced primary geography educators. The Charney Manor conference is a unique and independent forum that brings together practitioners from different walks of life with diverse experience of primary geography education in a variety of international settings. The statement is a synthesis based on more than 25 presentations made at the 2020 conference and is a significant contribution to an on-going debate about geography education, particularly with regard to primary age children, and the future of the subject in a fast-changing world.

‘As a group of over 30 primary teachers and educators with extensive experience in both formal and informal settings, from the UK and abroad, we re-affirm the essential contribution that geography makes to children’s education. Not only does geography develop children’s sense of belonging and place knowledge, it makes a unique contribution to their understanding of the world and how it is changing. At a time of growing planetary crisis, we believe a deep understanding of the reciprocal relationship between people and their environment is ever more important for primary age children and that geographical concepts and spatial awareness provide a unique and essential perspective on current realities. More specifically:

  • we believe that geography contributes to children’s health and well-being as well as their cognitive and social development
  • we value and seek more effectively to include the contributions which children bring and make to their geographical education
  • we recognise that the geography curriculum has changed remarkably little over the last century and that there is now a need for new thinking and different strategies
  • we see an on-going need to decolonise global learning and international understanding
  • we reaffirm the importance of signature pedagogies such as fieldwork, mapwork and enquiry which have stood the test of time and are the hallmark of effective, high quality geography
  • we believe there is significant potential for new approaches in geography which embrace notions such as divergence, disruption, enchantment, hope, imagination, creativity, criticality, humility and confident uncertainty
  • we appreciate the significance and importance of progression and assessment in the primary geography curriculum which will benefit from continuing reflection and deeper, sharper definition and shaping.’

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