*Suggestion: The times listed next to the activities are approximate. Each activity could take more or less time. This module is designed to be completed over a period of time rather than in a single sitting.
- View the Social Studies PowerPoint Presentation for an overview of this module and key ideas related to teaching social studies to young children.
- Access the California Department of Education’s document: The Alignment of California Preschool Learning Foundations with Key Early Education Resources.
- Focus on pages 143-156. When reading, notice how the Preschool Learning Foundations align with the California History-Social Science Standards for K-12.
- Use examples from the document when you reflect on the following: What are the fundamental skills and competences in social studies for early learners? Why are these skills and competences important for a TK classroom?
- Identify several considerations you would take to ensure that teaching these skills and competences are developmentally appropriate for a TK environment. Give an example and non-example of a developmentally appropriate lesson in a TK classroom.
- Read Social Studies in Action, compiled by Susan Friedman. Identify example classroom practices from the article that address different social studies strands: self and society; becoming a school community member (civics); sense of time (history); sense of place (geography and ecology); and marketplace (economics).
- How do the example classroom practices teach the concepts and skills in these strands?
- How do the example classroom practices support the domains of learning: socio-emotional, cognitive, language, and motor development?
- Read TK California’s Voices from the Field: Sharon’s Story
- How does Sharon connect with families? After reading, what new ideas or realizations do you have about building family-based learning in and out of the classroom?
- Why is connecting with families in culturally and linguistically responsive ways an important aspect of social studies and learning in TK?
- How does family-based learning support students’ socio-emotional development in TK?
UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL STUDIES INSTRUCTION FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
- Choose one of the following activities: Project-Based Learing or Connections Across Time and Space
Option A -- PROJECT-BASED LEARNING
Read one of the following articles about inquiry-based social studies instruction and respond to the “bulleted” prompts below.
Young Investigators by Judy Harris Helm and Lilian Katz
Critical Inquiry in Early Childhood by Candace Kuby:
- Why is project-based social studies important in a TK classroom?
- What makes a project “critical”? Why is community-based problem-posing an important type of project-based learning to implement in a TK classroom?
- Select an example classroom practice from one of the readings. Use the Project Based Learning Organizer to discuss the example.
Option B -- CONNECTIONS ACROSS TIME AND SPACE (“DOING HISTORY”)
View the Teaching Channel’s video on a Kindergarten social studies lesson: "Teaching Channel Kindergarten social studies"
- Making active connections across time and space—an important foundation of social studies—entails what Levstik and Barton call, “doing history.”
- Use the Time and Space Organizer to analyze the ways in which young children actively investigate history.
APPLYING YOUR KNOWLEDGE
- After developing an understanding of the skills and competencies of early social studies education, do the following:
- Go to the Teaching Tolerance website and select an early childhood lesson plan to analyze. (Teaching Tolerance: Classroom Resources)
- Sort by Grade Level:Pre-K to K
- Resource: Lesson
- Subject: Social Studies
Topic: [Your Choice]
- Use the Analysis of Teaching Tolerance Lesson Plan to analyze your lesson plan.
- Post your analysis and comment on others’ work or be prepared to discuss in class.
Approximate Total Time: 2 - 3 hours