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Early Childhood in the Social Studies Context

NCSS Position Statements

As young children engage in their play and daily activities, they show a natural interest in the world around them. Early childhood educators may capitalize on these interests and carefully plan a variety of experiences with social studies in mind, cultivating and extending young children’s diverse skills and abilities to form and voice opinions, identify and solve problems, negotiate roles, perceive diversity and inequality, and recognize the consequences of their decisions and behaviors on others. Social studies is a vital part of the early childhood curriculum, since children’s formative experiences shape their attitudes as “citizens of their classroom, their schools, and of the larger community” (Mardell, 2011).

Given the importance of early years educators in creating learning environments and experiences that foster young children’s skills as active citizens committed to inclusion and equity, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) affirms pedagogic practices in the early years that support young children’s progression of social studies learning in early childhood settings.

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