At Monmouth School Girls’ Prep Humanities lessons are split into History, Geography and RS subjects. Each subject covers a broad curriculum designed to put in place strong foundations in each subject, on to which the girls’ can build in their later studies.
History follows a broadly chronological structure, with girls coming into Year 3 and beginning their historical studies through an exploration of the Stone Age. Their focus moves through the development of early man and into the Iron Age and onto the Roman invasion of Britain in the Summer term. Throughout Year 4 the girls enjoy a study of the Saxons and the Vikings and from there onto Medieval Britain where they will look at medieval life, and take the chance to look at the role of women, including some powerful exceptions, of the Middle Ages. Into Year 5 the girls enjoy an in depth look at the tumultuous years of the Tudor dynasty. In the Summer term, studies are linked with a Geographical focus on Mexico, as the girls learn all about the Aztecs. In Year 6, the curriculum deviates slightly from the chronology to give the girls a chance to delve into mighty Ancient Egypt. From there they move onto Victorian Britain and onto War on the Home Front, during which the girls get to meet a real evacuee and hear all about their experiences.
The Geography curriculum aims to provide the girls with as broad a foundation as possible to their geographical studies and throughout the year groups girls will develop and enhance their knowledge of geological features such as coasts, rivers and volcanoes. They will also explore different kinds of settlements and weather patterns as well as developing a social awareness of what life around the world can be like. Through project work the girls are encouraged to draw links with other cultures and gain a fundamental awareness and understanding of the wider world beyond their own. Our Geography course equips girls with a diverse base of knowledge and skills from which they can draw throughout their lives through the study of broad earth, social and environmental topics.
Year 3 History
- The Stone Age through to The Bronze Age
- The Iron Age / Celts
- Romans in Britain
In Year 3, pupils are taught about the changes in Britain from the Stone Age, through to the Bronze Age and on to the Iron Age. A trip to Dan-yr-Ogof Showcaves, in Abercrave, allows the girls to explore wondrous caves and cave formations, experience the recreations inside the caves, visit the Iron Age village and begin to understand the timescales involved.
Classroom based activities ensure girls note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop use of historical terms. They learn how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources and address and devise questions.
The girls are also taught about the Romans in Britain and learn about Boudicca’s revolt. During the summer term we visit Caerleon, the site of one of Britain’s three permanent Roman Legionary Fortresses. The girls discover the power of the Roman army and its impact on Britain. Handling artefacts, being in role, touring the Baths, exploring the Amphitheatre and visiting the Roman Legionary Museum ensure that the girls are taken back in time and are inspired to ask perceptive questions, weigh evidence and develop perspective and judgement.
Cross curricular work ensures that the girls’ artistic, creative writing and IT skills are developed whilst developing their knowledge of the past.
Year 3 Geography
The Michaelmas term will see the girls developing their knowledge of our local area through the use of maps and will join the boys for a joint venture to the Kymin. This will lead the girls to further studies of the different landscapes. Our unit on weather encourages girls to think about how water is important and how it affects the world around us. We then look at weather worldwide and why some places are hot and other places are cold?
Our Lent term begins with investigating villages before we study travel. Caring for the countryside encourages the girls to think about their local environment and get outdoors
In the final term, pupils study different countries. They learn about the underlying geographical features which impact on everyday life of people living in these countries and are given opportunities to research these countries through different mediums.
History is a subject for which our Year 4 girls develop a love and enthusiasm. Throughout the course of the year the girls will study the infamous invaders and settlers, the Anglo Saxons and the Vikings. They will develop a first hand understanding of what it would have been like to settle a new country (and will even consider an invasion or two of their own!). Viking Day is always a highlight of the year where the girls have the opportunity to dress up, travel back in time and spend the day learning from and a talking to a real Viking. We finish our unit with the infamous 1066 battles at Stamford Bridge and, of course, Hastings, all of which will be tied in closely with the English curriculum.
The Lent and Summer terms will then follow the chronological timeline of Britain through to the Normans and the medieval period. Girls will get the opportunity to visit a castle, to see and touch real armour and weapons and to develop an understanding of what life in those times might have been like, plague and all! A visit from a real-life knight is also a highlight. We maintain close links with our Art curriculum through the creation of heraldic coats of arms and also with our English studies, through newspapers and the pilgrims of Geoffrey Chaucer. The final term will see girls getting the opportunity to turn the tables of History and to study some of the most powerful medieval women of the time.
Our Geography units remain closely linked to our History topics throughout the year, particularly through the Anglo Saxons and Vikings topic, where girls will enjoy extensive map work. The Michaelmas term will see the girls developing their knowledge of continents of the world and of European countries. They will then move on to cover a broad curriculum of study looking at all areas from settlements, to weather, to the food chain. Wherever possible, units have been linked in with Science as well as other cross curricular subjects.
Throughout their RS studies in Year 4 girls will be looking closely at rules and communities, with a particular focus on Christianity and Sikhism. Girls will study bible stories and take an in-depth look at the traditions and ethos that prevails through those that follow Sikhism. Further links with Geography can be made through locating countries and cities and through the study of different settlements.
Year 5 Geography
In Year 5 pupils learn about weather and climate and the difference between the two. They look at the location and features of different world climate zones and learn about the link between the heating effect of the sun and climate. They learn about how weather is measured. They also have the opportunity to investigate micro-climates and extreme weather. Pupils then go on to study the polar climate of Antarctica in more detail. They find out about how the climate has shaped life in that part of the world, including studying how wildlife has adapted to the extreme conditions.
In the final term, pupils study Mexico. They use a range of sources of information to compare everyday life in Mexico with life in Monmouth, including similarities and differences in food, clothes, housing and industry. They learn about the underlying geographical features which impact on everyday life of people living in Mexico.
Year 5 History
In Year 5, our history topic revolves around the Tudor period. In the Michaelmas term, we look at how the Tudor dynasty established itself beginning with the Battle of Bosworth and the events that led to the end of the War of the Roses. Much of our work in English is taken form this exciting period in history. We re-enact the infamous battle to get a real sense of how Richard III was defeated and how the two warring houses united. We also look at the reformation and how the country changed under the rule of Henry VIII. This is where we also study his six wives.
In the Lent term, we focus on Tudor life, looking at what it might be like to live as a Tudor. Year 5 take part in a three day residential trip to London, visiting Tudor sites such as Hampton Court Palace, The Tower of London, The Globe Theatre and the Golden Hinde. This trip shows the girls that history does indeed extend beyond the classroom.
In the Summer term. we study the Aztecs. We focus on their origins and way of life, leading to heir defeat by the Spanish. Once again, much of our written work revolves around our studies, where the pupils plan and write their own Aztec legends. Much of our artwork also links to our studies of Aztec culture and craft.
Our History includes ancient and modern periods; The Second World War, Ancient Egyptians and The Victorians.
During the Michaelmas term we study The Second World War focusing primarily on The Home Front. We visit Normandy as part of our residential French trip, and this affords us the opportunity to visit several landing sites and experience the 3600 Cinema in Arromanches.
In the Lent term we explore Ancient Egypt, with a visit to The British Museum.
In the Summer Term we concentrate on the Victorian period, contrasting the lives of the rich and poor during this era. This normally includes a workshop, or a historical visit.
Our Geography topics include European studies, our Restless Earth, and Water and Rainforests.
In the Michaelmas term we focus on European Countries, case studies, and political alliances such as the European Union. We also explore aspects of our Restless Earth, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, changing landscapes, and geology of the British landscape.
In the Lent term we focus on Water and Rivers – looking at conserving water supplies, courses of rivers and a case study.
In the Summer term we consider Conservation Issues, predominantly researching threatened wildlife and rainforest preservation projects.