Social Studies K-5

Students are increasingly entering a complex, ever-changing world that impacts their social, political and economic environment. Learning objectives center on strategies and skills to encourage a sense of curiosity; a willingness to explore; and, competency with problem solving and decision making. Social Studies provides a focus on key themes such as cultural awareness, civics, empathy, global responsibility and an understanding of geography coupled with its influence on societal development. It is the purpose of the social studies curriculum to develop each student’s ability to make informed decisions and take responsible action as citizens of a culturally diverse democratic society in an interdependent world. Grade level content is aligned with the 2009 New Jersey Core Content Standards for Social Studies and interfaces with the Common Core State Standards.    

Pupils are provided ample opportunities to learn about the past as a means of informing current events while building context and meaning for the world around them.   Interdependence, societal influences and dependencies, and identifying the role of citizenship are topics explored through relevant readings, research and discourse. The elementary Social Studies curriculum has a focus on five themes.  The study of commonality and diversity are crucial to understanding similarities among basic needs and differences among values and individual perspectives. Recognizing conflict and cooperation over the course of history and in current events provides each student with a lens for viewing and understanding world, national and local experiences.   The theme of continuity and change resonates with students as they study the world around them. Social, economic and political domains incorporate elements of consistency and transformation through responsive teaching and authentic examples. Individualism, interdependence and interaction within different environments are topics that facilitate students’ recognition of their place in the world and their connectivity to society.


Lessons and sharing on individual qualities, similarities between families, and community interests are topics for discussion at the Kindergarten level.  Understanding and appreciating the individual’s role in a family, community and society informs developmentally appropriate instruction at the primary level.  Name recognition, identifying personal characteristics and creating self portraits helps students distinguish themselves as they move toward greater comprehension of how people interact and coexist, despite differences in physical characteristics or preferences.


Students in first grade learn the qualities of citizenship, reflecting upon their own behaviors as citizens in their family, class, state, country and the world.  National holidays and those celebrated around the world are discussed and studied. Using a variety of literature, maps and globes, music, calendars and special event days, pupils achieve an understanding of major concepts about themselves and their relationships.

Similarities and differences, as well as respect for each, are addressed through a variety of activities, discussions and the sharing of literature and project work. The focus of instruction is on developing an understanding of core democratic values, the rights and responsibilities of American citizens and how key people and events contributed to the development of the American heritage. Exploration of cultural universals enables students to realize how the availability of resources, the changing environment and innovation impact everyday life. 


Laws, rules, citizenship, responsibilities, and discrimination are studied in second grade.   The importance of maps; the influence of landforms, water and environmental conditions; and, technological advancements are explored in relation to their impact on an ever-changing society.  Historical contributions; economics, including a comparison of wants and needs, and supply and demand; and the role of entrepreneurs are additional topics of study, as students learn to challenge the status quo and seek innovative ideas.

The uniqueness and importance of symbols (for the purpose of maps, landmarks and traditions and culture), and a study of Wyckoff’s past and history are examined through hands-on activities which include projects, research, literacy driven themes, individual and cooperative assignments as well as the reading and writing of expository text.   


The role of government and how it affects the lives of citizens is a focal point of instruction in third grade.   The interaction and interdependence of society through the study of artifacts, and human and natural impact on communities are meaningful, relevant examinations for students.   The use of a timeline to document and examine events, authentic literature and an enhanced study of landforms and geography and cartography bolster the study of communities, societal conflict and resolution and continuity and change over time.

Throughout the course of the year, students engage in the study of and practice citizenship skills, as they compare and contrast similarities and differences among cultures.  The interdependence of society, with respect to trade and commerce is explored, as is the theme of conflict and cooperation. Students will be challenged to develop an appreciation for resolving disagreements through communication, empathy and peaceful means for being successful contributors to our global society. Additionally, students learn about the continents and build upon their map skills. There is a focus on the state of New Jersey and its place in the Northeast Region of our country. Students explore the states within this region of the United States. 


The fourth grade-level course is designed to educate students about their state’s history and its role in our nation. The impact of government and the role of citizens take shape as the study of immigration progresses.  Emigration, ancestry and assimilation are interwoven themes as students embark upon an investigation of how and why various groups immigrated to the United States. Research on ancestry and immigration leads students to an examination of local history and the early culture and development of native people in New Jersey.  Similarities and differences between and among societies emerge through discussion, collaborative efforts, oral delivery, literacy driven themes, readings and research.  

Federal and local governments serve as topics that lend themselves to discourse on checks and balances, budgets, bills and vetoes.  The notion of a Democratic Republic and the United States’ role in a global arena are identified and evaluated. Students utilize historical learning, problem solving, speaking activities, literacy driven themes and research skills to maximize their understanding of civics, history, geography and economics. Simulations and digital projects help students achieve a better understanding of key concepts, content and learning objectives.


The purpose of the fifth grade social studies course is to develop in students the knowledge and skills required to make sense of current political and social issues while inculcating within them the knowledge base to become effective contributors to national, state and local decision-making processes. The life ways of Native American regions and cultural diffusion are accessed through the inclusion of technology, current events and relevant literature.   This dialogue leads to an examination of European expansion, colonization and slavery. Concepts such as colonialism and its far reaching grasp on topics such as boycotts, tariffs, rights and trade-offs are defined through the use of current videos, technology, works of historical fact and fiction, collaborative projects, primary source analysis, oral presentations and free response writing assignments. Students examine the American Revolution and the explansion and reform that followed this time period. Connections are consistently made between historical and current events coupled with the importance of discussing conflict, compromise and attaining appropriate resolutions. We expect our students to become conscientious, civic-minded critical thinkers who will become positive contributors to their world. 

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