Social Studies

The lower school curriculum engages students through multi-cultural exploration, civics, community, geography and map skills acquisition. Our project-based model nurtures students’ abilities in research, organization, vocabulary, writing and public presentation. Students are introduced to information literacy – how to identify, find, evaluate and use information effectively honing critical thinking skills as they analyze their newfound knowledge.

Curricular Goals

Grade 1

In Grade 1, Social Studies is integrated into all aspects of the curriculum. Students learn about themselves and the world around them. Emphasis is placed on studying “special days” – Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President’s Day, and Memorial Day as a lens of understanding significant historical moments and figures. Using a variety of educational materials, children develop an awareness of “American Heroes” such as the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Edison and their contribution to our lives today.

Grade 2

In 2nd grade, rich focus is dedicated to learning about social studies concepts in depth. Students explore two major units of study: “Me on the Map & Me in My Community” and “Black History Month.” In the first unit of study, students gain an understanding of what a community is, the three main types of communities, and their place in the community and on the map. Students learn basic map skills and create maps of their bedrooms, classrooms, and communities. The Black History Unit presents our students with perspective. They learn about numerous African Americans and their importance to American history including Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, and Jackie Robinson just to name a few. In addition, second graders read weekly Scholastic News articles, which present kid-friendly current events; these articles bolster both the second grade social studies curriculum, as well as reinforce all of our ELA skills throughout the year.

Grade 3

Through the lens of an integrated educational approach, third graders learn about
Native American tribes incorporating literature, folktales, and research skills. They gain an understanding of Native Americans as our first community in the United States and how the location of specific tribes affected their everyday life. Students learn how to gather and utilize information from print sources and use graphic organizers to create written work. Emphasis is placed on map skills and students gain exposure to map concepts and key vocabulary.

Grade 4

4th grade students will demonstrate an understanding of how to locate, interpret, evaluate, and synthesize specific information from a variety of nonfiction texts; including primary sources and the internet. Students collaborate in groups or work independently. The students learn about Early European and Chinese Immigration, as it existed from the 1890’s to the early 1900’s. Issues and topics include push and pull factors, passage, arrival, importance of community, and working conditions for new immigrants. The Immigration Unit is heavily linked to the 4th grade reading curriculum incorporating rich literature with historical accuracy. The fourth grade social studies curriculum gives students an understanding of geography by exploring the North American regions. The students develop essential map skills while mastering all fifty U.S. states and capitals. Students research each region’s natural resources, climate, culture, geography and compare and contrast them. They can make connections regarding how human activities in the regions are impacted by the environment and geography. The state of Connecticut is studied in fourth grade. Students learn about their state’s history, geography and government. The students consider the question: What people, places and events make Connecticut unique and significant in the story of America? In addition, weekly current events are discussed. This helps the students better understand their global community and the different cultures across the world.

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