History in the early years

Primary History article

By Anita Loughrey, published 24th March 2011

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content may be outdated.

Early years history should provide opportunities to expand the children's knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past and develop children's investigative and interpretive skills. Children should focus on:

  • Questioning
  • Observation
  • Generating thoughts and ideas
  • Planning
  • Carrying out investigations
  • Recording findings
  • Checking and questioning findings
  • Presenting explanations.

Teachers and Learning Assistants should provide a wide variety of activities which incorporate these skills, to stimulate and motivate the children's curiosity and understanding of the past. This can be achieved through:

  • Exploring primary sources first-hand
  • Analysing text and images
  • Locating information from books and electronic sources.

To develop their knowledge and understanding of the world the children need opportunities to gather information and satisfy their curiosity, both independently and in groups.

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