You may be wondering why you need (or maybe what the benefits would be) to teaching social studies to a preschooler. What you may be remembering as social studies are your history classes from high school or college. But before we had history or geography, we had social studies. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world*.
Social Studies doesn’t have to be boring as we may remember it when we were kids. There are a lot of fun activities that can teach them the important figures in history and cultural awareness of holidays and traditions (our holidays around the world week was all crafts!).
So why am I teaching social studies to a three and four year old? Below is a list of our goals for the year to give you a better understanding for why I chose to teach her this subject.
- learn to distinguish past, present and future time in their own lives and exploring other locations
- stories of people we commemorate (learn courage, heroism, and justice)
- government rules: discussing rules and appropriate behavior (“what it means to be a good citizen”)
- become familiar with events/people for national holidays
- days, weeks and months in proper order
- recognize national and state symbols (i.e. statue of liberty)
- learn that the world is divided into countries and the different cultures that exist
- understand the map and the globe (whats land and whats water)
- books with folktales of other cultures
- historical figure books
- songs and games from other countries
- list of rules
There are so many books and so many crafts that can be done for any of your themes to teach social studies. We talk about a lot of things as we are creating and working on projects. How do you teach social studies to your preschoolers?
* Definition from NCSS Task Force on Standards for Teaching and Learning in the Social Studies, 1993, p. 213.