Preschool Learning Guidelines for Learning in History and Social Science

Overview of the Preschool Learning Guidelines for Learning in History and Social Science

At the early childhood level, learning in history and social science is built on children’s experiences in their families, school, community, state, and country. Preschoolers can explore beginning concepts of history and social sciences with questions that are important to their lives such as “Who are the members of my family?” “Where do we live? Who are our neighbors?” Teachers should be alert to and ready to build on children’s immediate interests. Meaningful topics around social studies often emerge spontaneously out of children's play and conversations, and teachers can provide materials and resources to help children further explore their interests or questions.

One purpose of the preschool curriculum is to help children to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed in community life, as they learn to cooperate, share, and respect the rules of their classroom. They can also learn about the basis for a democratic society when they participate in simple decision-making for the group.

A second purpose of the preschool curriculum is to begin the development of their civic identity. Children listen to stories about the people and events we celebrate in our national holidays and learn why we celebrate them. They also become familiar with our national symbols.
Even before they can read, young children can be exposed to maps and globes, pictures of the President, and the American flag. Holidays should be presented in ways that are meaningful to three- and four-year olds. Holiday celebrations should be reserved to a day or two before, and after the actual date, unless the holiday is tied into a more complex theme or project.

Learning Guidelines for History and Social Science

Preschool Standard

Links to K Standards

1. Discuss and identify the order of daily routines.

Link to Skills & Concepts 1

2. Discuss and use vocabulary related to time in relevant activities.

Link to Skills & Concepts 2 and Learning Standard 2

3. Identify and describe cause and effect as they relate to personal experiences and age-appropriate stories.

Link to Skills & Concepts 3

4. Engage in activities that build understanding of words for location and direction.

Link to Skills & Concepts 4 and Learning Standards 3 & 4

5. Construct and describe simple maps of their immediate neighborhood.

Link to Skills & Concepts 5 and Learning Standard 4

6. Discuss examples of rules, fairness, personal responsibilities, and authority in their own experiences and in stories read to them.

Link to Skills & Concepts 6

7. Talk about the qualities we value in a person's character such as honesty, courage, courtesy, willingness to work hard, kindness, fairness, trustworthiness, self-discipline, loyalty, and personal responsibility.

Link to Learning Standard 5, also Health 9.2

8. Discuss classroom responsibilities in daily activities.

Link to Learning Standard 6, also Health 5.3, 5.4

9. Discuss roles and responsibilities of family or community members who promote the welfare and safety of children and adults.

Link to Learning Standard 6

10. Observe and discuss the various kinds of work people do outside and inside their homes.

Link to Skills and Concepts 7, Learning Standard 8

11. Observe, discuss, and dramatize basic economic concepts such as buying and selling, producing, and consuming.

Link to Skills and Concepts 8, and Learning Standard 10

12. Observe some U.S. national holidays and discuss how and why we celebrate them.

Link to Learning Standard 1

13. Observe or listen to important American symbols including the American flag and its colors and shapes; the melody of the national anthem; the picture and name of the current President, and the words of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Link to Learning Standard 7


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Citation: Stone-McDonald, A., Douglass, A., Love, M., Harding, L. (2011, March 02). Preschool Learning Guidelines for Learning in History and Social Science. Retrieved November 06, 2014, from UMass Boston OpenCourseware Web site:
Copyright 2014, Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License