Social Studies for Children: How it Shapes Their Thinking


At the elementary school level, a child is taught how most of the things around him work which can be broadly combined into four different subjects i.e. Maths, Science, Social Studies, and Language. Science explains how nature works and how we have manoeuvred it, Maths is essential to understand science and numbers, Language is what helps us communicate, but we often limit social studies to geography and history while it has a lot more to offer. Possibly, it is the most misunderstood subject.

Why Study Social Science?

Humans are social beings which means they live in groups and sustain together. Social study is a look into the complexity of human experience. They will learn about the physical and social environment, about how governments work, and how different societies have a different culture. 

Students also have to interact in various environments such as school, playgrounds, etc. As they grow, they have to interact with at workplaces and other organisations. We also learn how incidents that happened in the past that have shaped the present, how the future relies on the present. It helps solve practical problems in our day to day life. 

Overall, it is a mixture of many subjects like History, Geography, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, Social Psychology and a lot more.

What Makes a Social Study Program Effective?

In 2010, an updated framework was released reinforcing 10 themes comprising an effective social studies program. 


Comprising of history, anthropology, geography, and sociology, students will learn about new cultures and examine how they adapt and assimilate their beliefs. Also, historical cultures will teach how humanity has shaped over the years.

Time and Evolution

This involves the evaluation of how certain events change the human experience with time. How history has shaped the social, economic, and political environment of specific eras.

Personal Development and Identity

A student will learn how society shapes an individual. How the norms and belief system drives individuals’ personal beliefs. This is a composition of psychology, sociology, and anthropology.

People, Place, and Environment

It refers to the examination of how climate patterns, geography, and natural resources shape society. These uncontrollable changes impact everything from immigration and laws to economics etc.

Power, Authorities, and Institutions

In this theme, students learn how governments interpret and enforce laws. It is an examination of all aspects of civic competence and the way in which rights of its citizens can be either protected or abused.

Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

Students will study how various social, political, and religious institutes influence the belief systems of its members. Conversely, you also study how changes in social attitudes, communications, and certain events affect the institutions.

Science, Technology, and Society

We study here how scientific or technological breakthroughs alter the behaviours and attitudes of a culture. It also studies how increasing globalization has changed politics, culture, language, law etc.

Production, Distribution, and Consumption

This has to refer to the allocation of our natural resources. How trade and exchange systems influence value and consumption of goods. An effective system has to be in place for the most effective usage of resources.

Global Relations

Over the years, the world has got more connected. We here study how the increased exchange of information has reshaped social and political norms. It also has improved collaboration and support among countries.

Civic Ideals and Practices

It studies how the government can either incentivize or disincentivize the participation of its people in civic society. We learn about freedom of speech, voting, and democracy in this theme


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