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ERIC Number: EJ943981
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1056-0300
The Challenge of a Community Park: Engaging Young Children in Powerful Lessons In Democracy
Cole, Bronwyn; McGuire, Margit
Social Studies and the Young Learner, v24 n1 p24-28 Sep-Oct 2011
For young children to engage and learn in school, they need to feel safe in the classroom and on the playground right from the first day. They also need learning experiences that are active and meaningful--that engage them cognitively, affectively, and operatively. Feeling safe requires knowledge about places, rules, codes of behavior, and the skills and confidence to ask questions, seek advice, and negotiate and work with others--especially when unsure or feeling that someone or something is wrong. These are important competencies for achieving in school and living in a democracy. This article describes how kindergarten children developed and demonstrated such competencies by working together to construct a mural of a playground, make decisions about rules and codes of behavior, and resolve problems that arise (as introduced by the teacher) such as graffiti and bullying in their imagined playground. In this social studies learning unit, the teachers' pedagogical approach employed real world experiences (high cognitive), role-playing (high operative), and engaged children emotionally as they imagined real-world possibilities (high affective). The two key problems that arise in the playground, graffiti and bullying, challenge the children's social and civic understandings as they explore ways to resolve these problems. Finally, the authors discuss why active citizenship learning of this type is essential for young children and a healthy democracy. (Contains 9 notes and 1 table.)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800: Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia