Posted on 11/28/2016 at 09:32 AM by Liz Determan

Going from ME to WE: Social Studies in Preschool*

*The following contains excerpts from a High/Scope Extension newsletter article written by Polly Neill from 2015. Complete article is available through High/Scope Research Foundation.

“The early childhood classroom often gives children their first sense of the wider social community and how they fit within it.”

How young children view and interact with their larger social world is a key component in their overall learning and development. Children develop an awareness of social norms, customs, and strategies for interacting with others.

Teachers are often uncertain about what social studies looks like in the classroom.

Some teachers use holidays to share diversity, but social studies is so much more than that. Others celebrate Black history month or President’s Day and call it social studies. Others still, include some pictures and a few toys that refer to diversity or community helpers and call it social studies.

Social studies is an every day study of interdependence – the relationships between people, the environment, and their needs. It is complex.  Materials, the daily routine, and the interactions in the classroom contribute to the six parts of social studies. According the High/Scope the six areas include diversity, community roles, decision-making, geography, history, and ecology.

The inclusion of Social Studies must be INTENTIONAL. “As they (the children) take those first tentative steps into a world that does not revolve around them and learn to practice respect and responsibility toward the people, practices and natural world they come into contact with, children just might find that being a “we” can be a lot more fun than just being a “me.”

In each tip of the week this month, more detail in two of the elements of social studies will be included.

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