Social Studies Investigations for Young Citizens:
Passports to Inquiry, Community, and Partnerships
Kathleen I. Harris
Seton Hill University
The world beyond the classroom may be introduced to young children through the social studies curriculum. This curriculum serves as a dynamic component of early childhood education by building young children’s understanding of their particular roles in the community. A critical child outcome promoting overall growth and school readiness is the development of citizenship and social skills. For a young child, social studies promotes citizenship opportunities to apply learning cognitively, socially, and emotionally by teaching concepts about society and partnerships with family, school, and community. The importance of social studies is to promote citizenship and democratic thinking. This paper addresses social studies investigations that emphasize holistic education and provide opportunities to learn through partnership education. Social studies investigations offer teachers authentic classroom explorations. Young children are invited to investigate, predict, document, and reflect on discoveries with peers to cultivate a sense of citizenship and community. Accompanying social studies investigations, the citizenship rubric is a formative way of assessing a child’s progress toward social studies standards, promoting partnership and holistic education in the classroom community, and documenting citizenship responsibilities.
Key words: social studies, young children, holistic education, citizenship, investigations, community