Social Studies in Today's Early Childhood Curricula

Article excerpt

SOCIAL STUDIES IN TODAY'S EARLY CHILDHOOD CURRICULA. Mindes, G., Young Children, 2005, 60(5), 12-18. "Children are born into social studies," states the author (p. 12). At each stage of early childhood, children are trying to make sense of the world and society. Initially, social studies became part of the curriculum in the United States in order to help immigrant children better understand the history of the country. It has developed from that beginning into an integrated approach. John Dewey's influence added the richness of personal experiences so that social studies in rural areas would look different from social studies in the city. Through Jerome Bruner's work, social studies became an inquiry-based process focused on doing. The National Council for the Social Studies has defined 10 large content themes that provide a guide for teachers, who can select specifics based on children's interests.

In today's early childhood setting, social studies has a broader range. Social learning and academic content of social studies (based on the 10 themes), as well as classroom community and civic responsibility, are equally intertwined. …