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Foundation Stage history curriculum

Child looking at photo album
Your guide to how the history curriculum is brought to life in your child’s lessons and what you can do to support this in their free time.

Foundation Stage history is part of the national curriculum’s learning objectives for developing children's understanding of the world, so they will learn through experiences that introduce the concept of time and change.

Your child’s teacher may ask ‘What happened next?' after reading a story or looking at other sequences of events, such as getting dressed, planting a seed or making a sandwich. A popular focus is to get children to bring in photographs of themselves as babies and to discuss how they have changed over time.

Your child will also explore patterns and routines and may be given opportunities to take part in events to celebrate time, like planting an anniversary tree. It’s common for children to be encouraged to record their findings by drawing or writing.

Lessons examples

Intrigued as to what your child will do in class? Here’s some examples of the ways history is brought to life for younger students:

  • A group of children look at photographs of themselves and each other as babies and compare what they can do now with what they could do then.
  • During the spring and summer, children observe the life cycle of frogs, butterflies and annual plants in the garden and describe and draw the changes over time.
  • Children might bring in items from home to talk about, such as old toys their grandparents played with when they were little.

Help your child at home

  • Encourage your child's awareness of features in the area you live. Point out how some buildings look older than others.
  • Take your child to museums, galleries and history-themed events.
  • Discuss events that occur regularly within your child's experience, for example seasonal patterns, daily routines and celebrations.
  • Help your child to develop a sense of change over time and help them to differentiate between past and present by growing plants or looking at photographs of their life. Talk about past and present events in their own lives and in those of other members of the family or friends.
  • Encourage investigative behaviour and raise questions such as, ‘What do you think?', ‘Tell me more about?', 'What will happen if..?', ‘What else could we try?', ‘What could it be used for?' and ‘How might it work?'
  • Use language relating to time in conversations, for example, ‘yesterday', ‘old', ‘past', ‘now' and ‘then'.
  • Read stories that introduce a sense of time and people from the past.
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