History enables children to develop their knowledge and understanding of people, events and developments in the past at local, national and international levels. History has a valuable role to play in enabling children to learn about, and come to value the contributions made in the past by people from different ethnic and cultural groups, particularly those from ethnic, social and religious minorities. History, as outlined in the SESE: History Curriculum is an investigative subject. It emphasises the child’s development of knowledge and concepts and open and responsible attitudes through working as an historian.
The History Curriculum is for all children in the primary school from junior infants to sixth class. It is presented in two distinct sections.
It includes a skills and concepts section entitled Working as an historian which describes the historical skills and concepts that children should develop as they encounter topics in history. Depending on the class level, these skills can include:
- Time and chronology
- Change and continuity
- Cause and effect
- Using evidence
- Synthesis and communication
It also includes a number of strands which outline the historical periods that are to be included in the history programme at each level. Each strand includes a number of strand units. Depending on the class level, strands include:
- Myself and my family
- Early people and ancient societies
- Life, society, work and culture in the past
- Eras of change and conflict
- Politics, conflict and society
- Continuity and change over time
In infant and first and second classes, the History Curriculum emphasises the development of the child’s historical understanding through the exploration of personal, family and local history. From third and fourth classes upwards children will explore more extensive and more distant periods in the past and will encounter a broadening range of local studies.