Social Studies

In the Lower School, children begin to build the skills and knowledge for participation as informed citizens living in a democracy. They are engaged as active participants in a wide range of in-depth, integrated topics that encourage both cooperative learning and independent inquiry.

Building on their own existing knowledge, students begin by studying themselves and move outward to family, school, and communities. Key tenets of civics, history, geography, and economics come to life through the use of open questions, observation, reading, writing, discussion, and debate. Teachers strive to incorporate the local community resources into classroom studies and welcome opportunities for exposure to varied backgrounds and cultures. A yearly highlight is Global Focus Week, which involves the entire Lower School in a shared study of one country or region. The following are major goals of the Lower School social studies program, divided by grade level.

Social Studies - Early Childhood

The major goals for early childhood students in Social Studies are to:

  • recognize own strengths and uniqueness and explore family background
  • honor diversity in family composition
  • understand how members of a community help each other
  • identify and practice rights and responsibilities of group membership
  • learn and honor traditions from various cultures

Social Studies - Kindergarten & Grade 1

The major goals for kindergarten and first-grade students in Social Studies are to:

  • recognize own strengths and uniqueness and develop appreciation for those of peers
  • identify and practice rights and responsibilities of group membership
  • learn how people in Maine and elsewhere adapt to their rural/urban environment
  • understand how food products get from farm to table
  • experience the exchange of goods and use of currency at a market
  • understand the oral tradition and how it produced many versions of familiar folktales
  • recognize how myths and folklore can serve to explain natural phenomena and impart cultural values
  • celebrate the contributions and explore the history of various ethnic groups
  • recognize and respect similarities and differences in another culture studied in depth (Global Focus)
  • develop beginning map skills
  • vote as a means of practicing democratic decision-making

Social Studies - Grades 2-3

The major goals for second and third grade students in Social Studies are to:

  • identify and practice rights and responsibilities of group membership
  • develop understanding of Wabanaki history and explore present-day culture
  • explore Maine’s maritime history and traditions, and present-day working waterfront
  • understand how media techniques influence behaviors
  • learn research techniques (including traditional and electronic media), investigate and report effectively on a historical figure (second grade) or animal (third grade) (Independent Projects)
  • build geographical, historical, and economic understanding of the state of Maine
  • recognize and respect similarities and differences in other cultures (Global Focus)
  • expand map skills and use as a source of information
  • vote as a means of practicing democratic decision-making

Social Studies - Grades 4-5

The major goals for fourth and fifth grade students in Social Studies are to:

  • develop rights and responsibilities of effective citizenship both in school and in the larger community
  • understand geographic, economic, historical, sociological, and political factors in the immigration of various ethnic groups to the U.S.
  • understand the nature and roots of prejudice and discrimination and develop appreciation of individual and cultural differences
  • explore historical use of the salt marsh and mountain ranges to understand how human actions affect the environment
  • develop appreciation of the rights and responsibilities given to citizens by the U.S. Constitution
  • learn research techniques, investigate, organize information, and report effectively on a self-selected topic (Independent Projects)
  • continue to develop heightened consumer and media awareness
  • construct, compare, and interpret information from maps, building knowledge of U.S. and world geography

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