Learning about families and neighborhoods is an essential part of social studies throughout the primary grades, even as children learn about other parts of the United States and the world. In the first grade, children learn more about families and how they live and work, in the United States and elsewhere; explore aspects of the economy such as jobs, transportation, stores and shops, income, spending, and saving; study the different cultures in their region; begin to learn the concepts of city, state, and nation; practice democratic processes such as making rules and decisions; learn inquiry skills such as becoming aware of a problem, knowing how to gain information, being able to organize and analyze information, and finding solutions.
They advance their study of geography by learning the four main directions and using maps. History becomes more important at this level; a common focus of study is how children lived in other times. Children are encouraged to hear stories of their parents' and grandparents' childhoods. "Once upon a time" and "Long ago, in faraway land" are the openings of some fascinating stories that are read to children to give them a sense of historical thinking.
Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your Kindergartner -- 1st Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers
Copyright 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.