Talking to Your Kindergartner and First Grader about Social Studies

by Vito Perrone

This article offers examples of ways to encourage to child to think about social studies.

  • Watch a children's program such as "Sesame Street" or "The Electric Company" together. Ask your child to tell you what is going on.
  • Have your child talk on the telephone to Grandma or Grandpa, uncles and aunts. You will see how the child is gaining confidence and language skills.
  • As your child is learning the days and segments of days, you might ask, "What are the days of the week?" "What do we mean when we say morning, afternoon, evening, night?"
  • Look at photographs together. Family pictures showing you and your child at different ages are a good choice. Ask, "What can you remember about earlier times?"
  • It is important that your child be able to identify himself or herself. Have your child write his or her name and address.
  • Look at photographs of children in other parts of the world. See whether your child knows where these children come from. Ask how he or she knows.
  • Children typically learn the cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west. Ask your child where the sun rises. Ask where it goes down, or sets. Look at a map together. Ask, "Where is north? Where is south?"
  • Social studies in kindergarten and grade one covers basic geography. Children start to learn about maps and regions of the world. You might ask your child if he or she knows the two largest oceans. Also ask, "What is a desert?" "What is a swamp?" "What is a jungle?" "What are mountains?"
  • Ask what scientists, fire fighters, mechanics, pilots, lawyers, and farmers do. Take turns thinking of other jobs.
  • Ask, "What do we call the season of the year when it is very cold?" Or very warm, or when the leaves fall, or when the buds appear on the trees.

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.

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