The social studies program at the kindergarten level focuses on helping students develop awareness of themselves as growing individuals. Children's unique qualities as well as similarities to others are stressed. Children learn about values, ideas, customs and traditions through folktales, legends, music, and oral histories. In addition, children's relationships with others in the classroom and school become sources for social studies learning. Social interaction skills are integral to the kindergarten program. Emphasis is placed on using content that is relevant and personally meaningful. A wide range of interdisciplinary activities can help children grow and develop and gain knowledge and skills. Children also begin to learn about their role as citizens by accepting rights and responsibilities in the classroom and by learning about rules and laws.
Grade 1: My Family and Other Families, Now and Long Ago
The grade 1 social studies program focuses on helping students learn about their roles as members of a family and school community. The development of identity and social interaction are stressed. The students explore self, family and school through the five standards. Students learn about families now and long ago, as they study different kinds of families that have existed in different societies and communities. Students also begin to locate places on maps and globes and learn how maps serve as representations of physical features and objects. Building on the level K program, the grade 1 program encourages interdisciplinary learning to assist in developing the content, concepts and skills outlined for the K-12 social studies program.
Grade 2: My Community and Other United States Communities
In the grade 2 social studies program, students explore rural, urban and suburban communities, concentrating on communities in the United States. The student's own community can serve as an example for studying about and understanding other communities. Students study about communities from the perspectives of the five social studies learning standards. Community studies should include content examples from cultures other than the student's own, and from a variety of perspectives including geographic, socioeconomic and ethnic. Students continue to learn how to locate places on maps and globes and how different communities are influenced by geographic and environmental factors. They also study about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in their community.
Grade 3: Communities Around the World - Learning About People and Places
In the grade 3 social studies program, students study about communities throughout the world. The five social studies standards form the basis for this investigation as students learn about the social, political, geographic, economic and historic characteristics of different world communities. Students learn about communities that reflect the diversity of the world's peoples and cultures. They study Western and non-Western examples from a variety of geographic areas. Students also begin to learn about historic chronology by placing important events on timelines. Students locate world communities and learn how different communities meet their needs and wants. Students begin to compare the roles of citizenship and the kinds of governments found in various world communities.
Grade 4: Local History and Local Government
The grade 4 social studies program builds on the students' understanding of families, schools, and communities and highlights the political institutions and historic development of their local communities with connections to New York State and the United States. The in-depth study of local government will emphasize the structure and function of the different branches and the roles of civic leaders. Students continue to learn about the rights, responsibilities and duties of citizenship. By participating in school activities that teach democratic values, students develop a sense of political efficacy and a better understanding of the roles of supporters and leaders. Students expand their civic concepts of power, equality, justice and citizenship as they learn about local government.
The historic study of local communities focuses on the social/cultural, political and economic factors that helped to shape these communities. Students study about the significant people, places, events and issues that influenced life in the local communities. Students can investigate local events and issues and connect them to national events and issues. The grade 4 program should consider the following themes at the local level: Native American Indians of New York State, the European encounter, the colonial and Revolutionary War period, the new nation, and the period of industrial growth and development in New York State. This chronological framework will help students to organize information about local history and connect it to United States history.