Social Studies Instruction at The Carey School
The Social Studies Program at The Carey School aims to instill in our students the knowledge, critical thinking and inquiry skills necessary to be active and engaged participants in their school, community, nation and world. Keeping true to our mission, our program emphasizes a deep sense of kindness, respect for others, personal responsibility, and appreciation of diversity within our community and society at large.
Ten thematic strands weave through our units of study in all grades, pre-kindergarten through fifth grade (National Council for the Social Studies, Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, 2008). The study of culture plays a major role in our program as we strive to provide our students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be active participants in a multicultural democratic society. Students define culture, compare and contrast different cultures and study the concepts of unity and diversity within society. An emphasis on geography throughout our program helps students learn about people, places and environments as they work year after year to hone their geographic understanding of the world. Students learn where places are located, why people live where they live, how people interact with the environment and the implications of relationships between humans and nature. With the ever-increasing reality of global interdependence, students also explore global connections and economic decision making as they learn about both the benefits and consequences of globalization.
In cooperation with families, the primary grades emphasize individual identity development. Students learn how personal identity is influenced by those they interact with including family, school, community and peers. As students progress through the program they continue to explore ideas and experiences related to personal identity and also begin to think critically about groups and institutions that shape their daily lives such as schools, religious institutions, social organizations, etc. Throughout the program, students are exposed to civic ideals and practices as they engage in discussions and activities designed to help them understand their rights and responsibilities as active citizens in their school, community, nation and world.
The theme of time, continuity and change is ever present throughout our curriculum as students engage in discussions regarding the past, what we learn from historical events and how we apply our knowledge of the past to our lives today. Of particular relevance, students explore the myriad of ways in which science and technological advances have shaped the world in which we live today and the benefits and negative consequences of such broad change in a relatively short period of time. In our upper grades students explore the historical events that led to the development of a structure of power and governance here in The United States. Additionally, they critically analyze how the functions of government have remained consistent over time and have also evolved with new societal demands.
With these ten themes as guiding principles, our program begins with an in-depth study of self and family. Students explore what makes them unique as individuals, how they contribute to a diverse community, and how their families are representative of a wide range of beliefs, values, customs, traditions and backgrounds. Parents play an active role in our early childhood program by participating in programs such as “Kindergarten Heritage Hour” during which time they share a variety of experiences from many different cultural backgrounds.
With a strong grounding and understanding of self and family, our curriculum expands in second grade to include an in-depth study of local communities in the Bay Area as well as units of study focused on states, regions and the basic building blocks of government in the United States. We aim to provide our students with a strong sense of how they are not only part of, but contribute to, a wider community outside the walls of our classrooms. From here, our curriculum once again expands with a focus on world cultures in third grade. Students explore the countries of Japan, Brazil and Kenya as they learn the myriad of ways their own experiences compare and contrast with the experiences of others around the world.
Our fourth and fifth grade program focuses on California and United States History, respectively. In fourth grade students learn about the early settlers of California, events that led to California statehood, and the growth and development of our state through today. Similarly, in fifth grade students explore the history of The United States ranging from the first explorers, Colonial America and The American Revolution to modern day life in The United States today. Students also engage in lively discussions and debates about current events throughout the world as we strive to encourage awareness of issues affecting students’ lives today and in the future.
The Social Studies Program at The Carey School is directly aligned with the National Standards published by the National Council for Social Studies. Our standards are included below in PDF format to provide the scope and sequence of our Program. Learning goals and objectives are developmentally appropriate and are color coded according to the grade level in which the skills are of primary focus. Please note that our curriculum evolves from year to year. While The Carey School Standards for Social Studies Instruction are accurate and reflective of our curriculum to date, we revise our program regularly to reflect best practice and the world in which we currently live. If you have any questions, please contact our Director of Studies, Tracy Gray-Hair, at .
Click here to view The Carey School Standards for Social Studies.