ERIC Number: ED436257
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999
Early Childhood Social Studies.
Jantz, Richard K.; Seefeldt, Carol
Noting ongoing difficulties in identifying the fundamental role of social studies in educating young children, this chapter focuses on how children begin to develop historical and geographic understanding. The chapter considers age-appropriate and developmental concerns and the role of national standards in history and geography. The chapter examines changing views of teaching history, discussing research findings on children's time concepts, the linkage between history and time, and implications for teaching history to young children. The essay also describes how the national history standards reflect changing views about history and how it is to be taught to young children. In addition, the chapter discusses changing views of teaching geography, including reasons for omitting geography from many early childhood curricula and the role of national standards in guiding the development of geography curricula for young children. Research is summarized on children's awareness of spatial relationships, interest in places and regions, and understanding of physical systems. The chapter concludes by noting that disagreements over what should be taught to young children in social studies hamper teachers' decision making regarding curricula. The essay further maintains that both the history and geography standards fail to address early childhood prior to kindergarten entry and notes that despite the focus of professional organizations and government on programs for young children, the field remains splintered on the issue of social studies curricula. The chapter calls for greater involvement of early childhood professionals in developing standards and meaningful social studies curricula for young children. (Contains 56 references.) (KB)
Descriptors: Early Childhood Education, Educational Practices, Elementary School Curriculum, Geography, Geography Instruction, History, History Instruction, National Standards, Preschool Curriculum, Preschool Education, Research and Development, Social Studies, Spatial Ability, Teaching Methods, Theory Practice Relationship, Time
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: The Early Childhood Curriculum: Current Findings in Theory and Practice. Third Edition; see PS 028 086.