News and blog

Humanities at the Junior School

Humanities at the Junior School

Humanities teaching at St Mary’s Junior School continues to flourish. Across the years, girls learn about a range of different topics, each year deepening their understanding of the world around them and the skills with which they examine it.

Humanities is a topic area that is constantly evolving as contemporary events bring us a new understanding of what has happened in the past. The year 2020-21 was no different, with volcanic eruptions, new archaeological evidence at Pompeii and the removal of commemorative statues putting our class topics on the nightly news in a way that proved the continued relevance of Humanities to our modern life. 

Outstanding pupil achievements this year include

As a part of their study of The Stuarts and The Civil War, Year 5 pupils wrote a diary entry written from the perspective of Oliver Cromwell. This work, completed as a part of an English lesson on fronted adverbials and figurative language, highlights the cross-curricular connections made possible in Humanities.

Example entry by Eleanor D. Year 5:

Cromwell diary entry


In Year 6, girls prepared for the challenges of Senior School history lessons by analysing sources and Merryn M. created a brilliant example of this.

Humanities also provides an ideal opportunity to incorporate technology into our learning. Clio M. in Year 2 produced excellent work using Google Maps to locate various landmarks in the local area.

Year 4 studied volcanoes. This topic linked our lessons in Art, English, History, Geography, and even Science. Their 'Fireworks' display (pictured above) highlights some of the work from this term – ‘lava paintings’ in the style of Jackson Pollack and descriptive writing inspired by Philip Pullman’s The Firework Maker’s Daughter (whose heroine finds her courage in the depth of a volcano).

Humanities and HPL

Humanities lessons at the Junior School offer lots of opportunities for girls to practise their HPL skills, particularly linking and analysing. Girls are constantly using their analytical skills to examine historical evidence and geographical phenomena. They also make frequent connections between different subject areas. The link between English and Humanities lessons is particularly strong as teachers endeavour to choose English texts that will deepen the girls’ understanding of the themes or topics covered in our History and Geography lessons.

Our HPL Values, Attitudes and Attributes are also frequently demonstrated, particularly empathy, as the girls imagine what life would be like to live in a different time period of part of the world.  

The girls’ enthusiasm for and dedication to their Humanities lessons came through more than ever this year, especially during the weeks spent online. Girls took advantage of their time spent online to research topics of interest and find creative ways to present their learning.

Mrs Stuart

Return to Magnolian 2021