Editor’s Note

Social Studies Research and Practice

Special Early Childhood Edition

Lynn Kelley, Guest Editor


This edition of Social Studies Research and Practice is dedicated to all teachers of young children who promote autonomy, create a developmentally appropriate learning environment, and realize the importance of social studies education as they guide young learners on their journey to becoming productive and informed citizens.

In the Research section, the initial article explores raising the levels of questioning during peer interviews in young children by including strategic questioning activities throughout the curriculum.  A case study of second grade teachers’ participation in a lesson study and the impact it had on their students, forms the second article.

The Practice section encompasses five articles. In Tackling Controversial Topics: Developing Thematic Text Sets for Elementary Social Studies, the authors promote teaching with sensibly selected themed text sets to address social studies topics and inquiries. These text sets incorporate English Language Arts standards and in tandem with authentic and meaningful social studies instruction.

The authors of Grappling with Death and Loss through Children’s Literature in the Social Studies discuss how an elementary social studies teacher assisted her students in coping with the death of their beloved classroom pet. It further chronicles how she handled the difficult and often taboo topics of loss, death, and tragedy. Social Studies Investigations for Young Citizens: Passports to Inquiry, Community, and Partnerships offers teachers authentic explorations in applying the components of partnership education and the dispositions of holistic education. The authors of Encouraging Awareness of Environment through Art and Print propose using environmental texts, such as real estate booklets, enhanced by art and music with can generate learning activities in the social studies. In Building Prospective Early Childhood Teachers’ Content knowledge through Reasoning Tasks teacher candidates begin to envision themselves as teachers of historical inquiry following an instructional sequence designed to engage these candidates in historical reasoning.

In the Interdisciplinary feature, Including Young Learners with Special Needs in Social Studies Classrooms suggests research-based practices for differentiating instruction for young learners with diverse needs, especially in the social studies.

The Notable Trade Book Lesson Plans feature contains developmentally appropriate lesson plans and activities for young learners on the following books: While You Are Sleeping, The Champion of Children, The Cupcake Thief, The Recess Queen, My Best Thumb, The Friendship Quilt, Now and Ben, Neo Leo, and Timeless Thomas.

I wish to thank Dr. Cynthia Sunal and the staff of Social Research and Practice for the opportunity to serve as Guest Editor for the Early Childhood Special Edition of this distinguished journal.


Lynn Allyson Kelley