Elementary Social Studies

  • The primary purpose of the Kindergarten through fifth grade Social Studies curriculum is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasonable decisions as global citizens of a culturally diverse and democratic society. Students will develop an understanding of concepts and key ideas through inquiry, analysis of primary and secondary source documents, and interdisciplinary skills and practices. Students will be instructed across the Kindergarten through fifth grade spectrum by using a common set of themes, key ideas, and concepts. 

    Kindergarten: Self and Others 

    Students study “Self and Others.”  Each unit helps students study themselves in the context of their immediate surroundings. Students will learn about similarities and differences between children, families, and communities and about holidays, symbols and traditions that unite us as Americans. Students learn about respect for others, and rights and responsibilities of individuals. 

    Grade 1: My Family and Other Families, Now and Long Ago 

    Students examine families and develop an awareness of cultural diversity within the American culture. Responsible citizenship is introduced, as well as the role of authority in making rules and laws. The students will increase their geography skills through the use of maps and directions. Family history provides the basis for examining sources of information and organizing that information. Economic terminology and principles are introduced in the context of family resources, as well as in making economic decisions. 

    Grade 2: My Community and Other Communities 

    Students study their local community and learn about characteristics that define urban, suburban, and rural communities. Democratic principles and participation in government are introduced. Interaction with the environment and changes to the environment and their effects are examined. The concept of change over time and examining cause and effect are introduced. Students will examine the availability of resources and the interdependence within and across communities. 

    Grade 3: Communities of the World 

    Students learn about communities around the globe (urban, suburban, and rural) and about global citizenship. Students bring with them knowledge about their communities. In this course, students make comparisons across time and space, examining different communities and their cultures. Culture includes social organization, customs and traditions, language, arts and literature, religion, forms of government, and economic systems. Students are introduced to the concepts of prejudice, discrimination and human rights, as well as to social action.  

    Grade 4: New York State and Local History and Government 

    Students focus on New York State and local communities and their change over time, incorporating the study of geography, history, economics, and government. The course is divided into seven units that span the State’s history from before the European colonial era to the modern period. The units allow students to make connections to present-day New York State and the local community. 

    Grade 5: Western Hemisphere 

    Students examine the history and geography of the Western Hemisphere, including the development of cultures, civilizations, and empires; interaction between societies; and the comparison of the government and economic systems of modern nations. It also incorporates elements of archaeology. The course is divided into seven units that cover a time span from prehistory into modern times. Students will make local connections throughout the course, especially in the examination of citizenship related to modern political and economic issues.