Social study themes in PreK and Kindergarten revolve around self-identity and relationships; the relationship with each other, the larger school environment and between home and school. Helping each child establish a positive sense of self and as members of a group, children work on recognizing their own needs and feelings, building resiliency, and empathizing with the needs of others. Children work to build friendship skills, practicing conflict resolution and taking on multiple perspectives. An inclusive and welcoming classroom community is created where children learn about similarities and differences, exploring ideas of gender, family structure, race, ethnicity, and other identities that are salient in their world. They are encouraged to talk openly and listen to honest questions and ideas from classmates, in order to unpack bias, confront stereotypes, and construct their own knowledge and questions about the world.
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In PreK, children study their identity by exploring traditions in their families. They also conduct a skin color exploration where they blend various pigments to create a jar of their own unique skin tone, which they then use for various self-portrait projects. In their play, PreK children are making the developmental transition from associative play characterized by activity alongside others, to cooperative play which involves more intentional collaboration. As children broaden their play, they begin to learn the many skills of give and take needed for working with others.
In Kindergarten, children explore their self-identity, as well as that of their peers and others. Multiple opportunities to express and represent identity come through integrating storytelling and conversations about unique and shared ways of being. Children explore their names, diverse families, bodies and gender, and a variety of self-portrait projects. Being a member of a classroom community also provides kindergartners with never-ending opportunities to develop pro-social and problem-solving skills. Themes of power, inclusion, fairness and justice are integrated through emergent themes and teachable moments. A storytelling thread which includes the writing and acting of children’s own stories, culturally-diverse tales, and relevant experiences, supports children in building connections between their own lives, literature and the broader world.