In the EYFS teachers and children constantly refer to the past, how things were different when grandparents or even parents were little, comes up constantly. Objects, special treasures from home, pictures and classroom topics all encourage children to develop their understanding that things have not always been the same. Technologies have changed, clothes have changed, cars and buses have changed, even animals have changed – there are no longer any living dinosaurs!
At the same time we encourage children to understand that some things have remained the same, the routines of childhood are very little changed from their parents’ days, children still play, and families still go on holiday, there are still the special festivals of the year and we largely celebrate them in traditional ways. We encourage children to develop an understanding of similarity difference and some understanding of the passage of time, but these are ideas that our more thoroughly developed in Years 1 and 2.
In Years 1 and 2, History becomes a separate subject, taught for up to an hour a week and covering specific topics designed to encourage children to engage with the specific historical ideas of change and continuity. In Year 1 the boys study three main topics, Homes over a Hundred Years, the Olympics Ancient and Modern, and Seaside Holidays Then and Now. In Year 2 the topics are Remembrance, Famous People and The Great Fire of London. The topics have been chosen to help children connect their own experiences and interests with historical events and thus develop their historical understanding.
Lessons are resourced with artefacts, online materials and printed materials in the classroom and the boys are encouraged to develop their questioning techniques, ask historical questions, and to think actively about change and continuity, using evidence to draw conclusions and developing their historical imagination.
History of course involves some exploration of British Values and these emerge in topics like Remembrance and Famous People. Another important aspect of History is chronological understanding and this is an ongoing aspect of teaching History throughout Year 1 and Year 2.