Social studies develops students’ appreciation of the human experience as it relates to one’s self, the child’s family, the School community, the local area, and the world. The Social Studies curriculum enhances the child’s sense of individuality and awareness of himself/herself while making connections to other people, cultures, environments, events, and times. Within this context, the following values are stressed:
- All people have fundamental similarities, both physical and social, and at the same time, individual differences make each of us unique.
- Each person has value as a member of the human family. Physical appearance, personal abilities, socio-economics, national, ethnic or religious background, gender, sexual orientation, traditions, and language are a part of that value.
- Differences in each person and in each culture are an inseparable part of our world. This diversity contributes in positive ways to our lives.
A significant component of our curriculum is devoted to developing a sense of social responsibility. This is presented in increasingly sophisticated conceptual levels as the students move through the Lower School. We guide our students to:
- Examine the basic needs of people and cultures, analyzing their similarities and differences, and defining their interdependence and their relationship to the environment.
- Develop an understanding of time and sequence and cause and effect so that they grow to view events through a historical perspective.
- Keep informed about current events in an age appropriate way.
- Develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions.
- Contribute actively through service to the community.
Our program is designed to further develop skills that are taught in the Language Arts curriculum so that students are increasingly able to express their ideas about the world. As students move through the grades, they expand their research and critical thinking skills. By the fourth grade, this includes note-taking from a variety of resources, enabling them to write and present increasingly sophisticated reports. They learn to classify, interpret, analyze, summarize, and draw conclusions. Students gain an understanding of sequenced events and acquire geography skills necessary for academic exploration.
In each grade, students enthusiastically explore these social studies concepts/skills in playful and inventive ways while working on developmentally appropriate themes. These themes often are used as unifying subjects central to the whole curriculum. Themes provide ideas for reading, writing, science, math, library, art, music, and drama, enriching all areas of learning. In all grades, students are engaged in integrated projects. They participate in field trips, analyze films, dramatize events, create art projects and cook foods from different cultures, and more.