Stories, place and sustainable development

Planning a Year 2 locality study

The aim of our unit was to use a range of secondary sources.  This incorporated  fiction and non-fiction texts. 

QCA schemes of work for Geography at KS1 were used as a model

We used four books:


  • My grandpa and the sea – Katherine Orr [Carolrhoda, 1992]
  • The Holiday – Roderick Hunt [Oxford Reading Tree, 2004]  

    [We have six of each of these books – the teachers sometimes feature the books in their Literacy Hour, and then in Geography lessons to draw out the geographical themes]


  • The People of St Lucia
  • The Landscape of St Lucia

    [Both by Alison Brownlie, published by Wayland]

We also used mapcards and some filmstrips, as well as general books about The Caribbean.

My Grandpa … carries strong messages about sustainable development:

Children took statements such as “they come to God’s table with a wheelbarrow instead of a plate” [referring to large fishing boats].  These promoted hot discussion.

  • They suggested reasons why there might be a shortage of fish.
  • They discussed Grandpa’s attitude to the environment.
  • They explored how Grandpa might feel when he goes fishing / there is no fishing / he does other jobs / he gathers seamoss.  They made a list of words and phrases that describe his feelings.
  • They were asked ‘What affect does his lifestyle have on Lila?’

Our scheme deals sequentially with six key questions.

1. What other places do we know about?

2. Where is St Lucia?

Using The Holiday and My Grandpa and the Sea, children consider how they might travel there and what sort of time might be needed for the journey

Children use non-fiction books such as The people of St Lucia to investigate why there is such a rich mixture of people and cultures.  They locate the places where St Lucian people came from on a world map.

3. What is St Lucia like?

Children investigate what St Lucia is like.  They look at fiction and non-fiction, pictures, photographs, posters, brochures, film strips etc.  They talk about what they have found out.  An adult scribes their findings into two columns – physical features and human features, modelling the use of geographical vocabulary.   Key words are then be put into an appropriate ICT database to be used as a resource for children’s writing [either when using a computer, or as a printed list].

Starting with picture information in a book, children are encouraged to extend their work:

4.  They design and write a postcard from St Lucia – what would they put in the picture?  What would they write on the back?   Where would they send it?  How would it get there?

They are divided into groups to make collages / paintings / drawings or panoramic pictures of St Lucia and their own location.  They label the main features of both places.

They suggest lists of similarities and differences between St Lucia and their locality under headings such as houses, physical landscape, people, transport, weather.  An adult could scribe.  Using My Grandpa and the sea children could:

  • Look at the pictures and say what sort of landscapes / seascapes they can see.
  • Choose a favourite picture and describe in detail the landscape.
  • Read the paragraph starting “one morning, early, he took me with him in ‘Fancy Lady’”, and look at the picture.  List the words that describe the landscape.  How does the description make you feel?
  • What types of transport are used in St Lucia?
    Using My Grandpa … the teacher discusses with children how transport is changing the environment eg beach for fishing canoe, large harbour for liners What work do the people do in St Lucia?

Using My Grandpa …, children look at changes in the work people do.  They role play what it would be like to be Grandpa / Franklin.  What would they say about their work?  Using The holiday they compare Wilf and Wilma’s grandfather’s boats  with Lila’s grandfather’s.  Which grandfather would they prefer, and why?

5.   Using resources such as  the landscape of St Lucia children make a weather chart of St Lucia.  They list activities which depend on the weather [eg fishing, bananas, tourism].  An adult narrates facts about the tropical storm ‘Debbie.’  They read the storm section of The holiday.  Children imagine they are in St Lucia in the storm.  Imagine telephoning their mum at home – what would they say?

6.  Would we like to live in St Lucia?

Children are asked to imagine living on St Lucia – an island.  What would they like most?  What would they not be able to do?  What changes would they like to make?  … give reasons.   They design a poster /  brochure promoting St Lucia.

They role play a travel agent ‘selling’ St Lucia to a customer.