Why is Geography Important?

Written by Dan

Last updated

Geography is one of the most important subjects taught in primary schools. It helps children develop a global perspective and learn about different cultures and lifestyles worldwide.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of geography in the primary school curriculum and how it can help students prepare for future academic success.

Related: For more, check out our article on The Best Geography Games Online  here.

why is geography important

Why Is Geography Critical?

Geography is an essential subject that all primary school students should study. It helps children to understand the world around them, and how different places are connected. Geography also teaches essential skills such as map reading and critical thinking.

By studying geography, children can learn about the natural world, the distribution of resources, and the impact of human activity on the environment. In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, Primary school students who study geography will be better prepared to navigate the challenges of the 21st century.

Importance AspectExplanation
Understanding the WorldGeography helps us comprehend the physical layout of the world, including the locations of nations, cities, and natural resources.
Cultural AwarenessIt fosters an understanding of diverse cultures, languages, and traditions, promoting global citizenship and empathy.
Environmental InsightGeography informs us about Earth’s physical processes and the impact of human activity on the environment, which is crucial for sustainability.
Economic ConnectionsIt explains the economic networks and trade patterns, influencing global economies and individual livelihoods.
Spatial ThinkingGeographical knowledge enhances spatial awareness and the ability to visualize relationships between places.
Natural DisastersUnderstanding geography helps in predicting, preparing for, and responding to natural disasters.
Navigation SkillsBasic geographical knowledge is essential for navigation and understanding maps and GPS systems.
Urban PlanningGeography plays a key role in urban development, land use planning, and infrastructure management.
Geopolitical DynamicsIt provides insights into geopolitical issues, borders, and territorial disputes, affecting international relations.
Resource ManagementGeography aids in the management and conservation of natural resources, ensuring their sustainable use.
This table provides reasons why geography is an important field of study, emphasizing its impact on cultural, environmental, economic, and political understanding.

How Can We Break Geography Down?

Locational Knowledge

In the geography primary curriculum, locational knowledge is all about understanding where things are in the world and how they relate.

For children, this means learning about different continents, countries, oceans, etc. It also involves learning about latitude and longitude and map skills such as scale and direction.

By developing a solid foundation of locational knowledge, children will be better equipped to understand the world around them and make sense of current affairs.

In addition, locational knowledge can also be helpful in everyday life, for example when planning a journey or finding your way around a new town.

Here’s a table of information that breaks down the discipline of geography into its main components:

Physical GeographyStudies the natural environment, including landforms, climate, vegetation, and hydrology.
Human GeographyExamines human societies, their cultures, economies, and interactions with the environment.
Environmental GeographyFocuses on the relationship between people and the environment, addressing issues like sustainability and conservation.
Geospatial TechnologiesInvolves the use of tools like GIS (Geographic Information Systems), remote sensing, and GPS for mapping and analysis.
CartographyThe art and science of map-making, including the representation of physical and human-made features.
Cultural GeographyExplores cultural practices, languages, and human patterns across places.
Economic GeographyInvestigates the distribution of economic activities and how they relate to the environment.
Political GeographyStudies the spatial distribution of political processes and how they impact regions and borders.
Urban GeographyAnalyzes urban spaces and processes, including city development and urban planning.
BiogeographyConcerned with the distribution of species and ecosystems in geographic space over time.
This table breaks down the field of geography into its various components, providing a framework for understanding the different areas of study within the discipline.

Related: For more, check out our article on What Geography Is Taught In Reception?

geography map

Global Features

The primary geography curriculum contains fascinating topics for children to learn about. One of these is global features, which cover the different physical characteristics of the Earth.

Children will learn about the oceans, the atmosphere, and the continents, as well as the various landforms that can be found on each one. They will also explore how these features have formed and continue to change over time.

By studying global features, children will develop a greater understanding of the world around them and their place in it.

Ultimately, this knowledge will help them to make sense of the world map and appreciate the diverse range of landscapes that can be found across the globe.

Place Knowledge

Place Knowledge is a crucial aspect of the geography primary curriculum. It refers to children’s understanding of the world around them, and how different places are connected.

Place Knowledge helps children to make sense of their own experiences, and to understand the lives of others. It is also an essential tool for developing geographical skills such as map reading and data interpretation.

There are three key areas of Place Knowledge: local, national, and global.

Local knowledge relates to children’s understanding of their own community and surroundings. National knowledge refers to children’s awareness of different regions within their own country.

Global knowledge relates to children’s understanding of the world as a whole. Each of these areas is equally important, and children need a good foundation in all three to succeed in geography.


Weather is a big part of everyday life and a key primary school geography curriculum topic.

Children need to understand what causes different weather conditions and how these can impact people and the environment. They also need to be able to use weather information to make decisions, such as what clothes to pack for a trip or when to harvest crops.

With this in mind, here are some of the key things children need to know about the weather…

Weather happens when hot air rises and cold air sinks. This air movement creates the wind, which can cause other weather phenomena such as rain, snow and storms.

Temperature is a measure of how hot or cold something is. It’s usually measured in degrees Celsius (°C), although degrees Fahrenheit (°F) are sometimes used in countries like the USA.

Rainfall is caused when water droplets condense out of the atmosphere and fall back to Earth. The rainfall can be measured in millimetres (mm) or inches.

Snowfall occurs when the temperature is cold enough for water droplets to turn into ice crystals before they reach the ground. Snow can also form from ice crystals that fall from high up in the atmosphere.

Clouds are made up of tiny water droplets or ice crystals. They form when warm air rises and cools, causing the water vapour to condense out of the air.

By understanding these key concepts, children can make sense of the ever-changing weather patterns around them.

Related: For more, check out our article on How To Teach Cultural Awareness In Geography


Fieldwork is an important part of the geography primary curriculum. It allows children to get first-hand experience of the world around them, and to learn about the physical and human processes that shape our environment.

To make the most of their fieldwork experiences, children need to be prepared to ask questions, take measurements, and make observations.

They also need to be able to communicate their findings clearly and concisely. With a little preparation, fieldwork can be an excellent way for children to learn about the world around them.

Physical Geography

Physical geography is all about the Earth’s physical features – think landforms, oceans, rivers, climate and weather. It’s a really important part of the primary geography curriculum, as it helps children to understand how our planet works.

They learn about the changes that occur on the Earth’s surface, and how human activities can affect them.

Physical geography also teaches children about the importance of conservation and how we can all play a role in protecting our planet. By understanding more about the Earth and its fragile ecosystems, we can all help to make a difference.

Human Geography

Studying human geography is essential for understanding the world we live in today. From the high-rise buildings of New York City to the Great Wall of China, there are countless examples of man-made features that have shaped our planet.

Children need to learn about how humans have altered the landscape and how these changes have impacted our lives.

In addition, they must also understand the importance of sustainable development and how we can preserve our planet for future generations.

By studying human geography, children can develop a greater appreciation for the world around them and learn how to make responsible decisions that will help protect our planet.

Geography is an essential part of the primary school curriculum. It helps children to understand our physical world and how it works, as well as the impact that human activities have on it.

Through fieldwork, physical geography, and human geography lessons, children can better appreciate the world around them and learn how to make responsible decisions that will help protect our planet.

Children can become better global citizens and help make a positive difference by understanding and appreciating geography.


How does OFSTED judge Geography?

OFSTED judges geography using the same criteria as any other subject in primary school. They look for evidence that children have acquired a wide range of geographic knowledge and skills and can use them to understand the world around them.
They also look for evidence that geography is being taught engagingly, with lessons that are stimulating and enjoyable.

What is an OFSTED Deep Dive?

An OFSTED Deep Dive is a more in-depth examination of particular subjects or aspects of teaching. During a deep dive, inspectors will take a closer look at how geography is taught and assess the quality of education in this area.
They might also interview children to get their feedback on how geography lessons are being delivered and what they have learned from them. OFSTED Deep Dives help ensure that children receive a high-quality education in all subjects, including geography.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.

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