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Key Stage 1 history lessons explained

Here’s your guide to the themes, projects and lessons that your child will experience in the Key Stage 1 history curriculum.

How did people live in the past? Who were the key men and women that helped shape society as we know it today? These are some of the questions that children focus on in history at Key Stage 1. They also continue to build on learning from the Foundation Stage, exploring changes in their own lives and the way of life of their family or others around them.

In KS1 history lessons, children are taught about:

Lesson examples

Here are some activities that your child might take part in to learn about history at KS1:

  • After looking at a poster of a castle and noting the key features, such as the windows and drawbridge, Year 1 pupils draw pictures of their own castle, highlighting its special features.
  • A Year 2 class is given the task of finding out information about toys from the past. They then have to share their findings with each other and use the information to place the toys in a chronological order, starting with the oldest. Once the pupils have agreed on the correct placement of the toys, they then move onto adding approximate dates, completing an illustrated timeline.

Help your child with primary-school history at home:

  • Get your child to see that history is all around them – where they walk, where they live, where they go to school. Ask questions about the type of people that may have lived there and the kind of lives they may have lived. How did children keep themselves entertained in the past?
  • Help your child to find answers to questions. Take them to a local history museum, the library or a historical event.
  • If you are going on a long journey, play games with them that are history-based. For example, get them to spot buildings that have timber frames.
  • Watch history programmes on TV.
  • The best way to teach questioning skills is to ask ‘what if' questions. Encourage them to question, not accept. If the wheel hadn’t been invented what would have happened? History is the best lesson for practising asking and answering questions.
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