Social Studies For Kindergarteners: A Simple Way to Help Schoolchildren
Social Studies Needs More Teachers, but Schools Can Help
by Katrina Schwartz, RD, LD
At age five, children are taught that making friends is important for healthy development. But according to leading preschools, social skills can be taught as early as kindergarten. Yet according to the National Association for Social Studies, a third of all teachers don’t have the training to teach social studies and half don’t receive adequate training.
When a child is new to school, teachers should play a hands-on role to introduce the young child to social skills, such as sitting for a lesson, keeping a journal and bringing a handout to class.
Teaching Social Studies A Messy Thing to Do:
Social Studies is a messy thing to do – one that becomes more complicated the older a child gets. Social studies relies on the social attitudes of students and teachers. By the time students reach second grade, the students’ social and emotional development is not entirely aligned with what they need to become successful learners in school. Over the course of social studies, teachers and students can move away from these social lessons, something often taught at the beginning of the year.
Fostering Relationships Without Sharing:
Classroom relationships are important. There needs to be a clear understanding of values, and students need to have open communication in order to effectively learn. From first grade on, social studies teachers are often very good at building relationships with students, and they do so, according to research, through an often-skilled classroom response that revolves around empowering and encouraging social behavior.
When Schools Improve Social Skills, Many Programs From Social Studies Are Quickly Replaced:
Most of these skills are skills that teachers use to help kids get along with other students. Yet these skills are often overlooked by many school systems, due to budgets and other safety concerns. Instruction on these skills can become lost, and the programs that once supported these social skills begin to erode due to budget cuts and turnover. However, by adding in social studies, teachers can turn some of these programs into a valuable resource in the classroom, especially for students needing extra help.
This article originally appeared on the VitalEyes blog: Social Studies for Kindergarteners.