Scientific observation and social studies are interconnected throughout the year. 4-5s students get to know each other as well as the larger MCS community. People as well as animals are an important part of our lives in New York City and we spend the first two months talking about how animals in our homes, around the city and at our Farm live together and help each other.
Through our Baby Study we explore how we have changed in the past and how we continue to grow and change. As we study our development we will be inviting babies and toddlers from our community to visit so that we may observe, ask questions and learn about them.
Throughout the year, students take a series of neighborhood walks to discuss what things are important in a neighborhood and look carefully at the details of the world around us.
Socio-emotional development is a key part of the 5-6s' year, and is built into the social studies focus on community and tools. There is a growing sense of autonomy in the five- and six-year old; however, we also encourage the children to see themselves as valued members of the classroom and school community. Through role-play, stories, community building activities, and reflective discussions intentionally built into the 5-6s' program, the children strengthen and practice their social and emotional skills.
Six and seven-year-olds are ready and eager to investigate the world around them. The curriculum in the 6-7s focuses on how communities of workers help each other, provide services and share responsibilities. Studies include class jobs, and learning about the businesses in the local Upper West Side neighborhood. After students look at various ways people and organizations serve their communities, the 6-7s’ open their own Post Office to help people in our school communicate with each other through letter writing. Other studies will include mapping, interviews, writing, discussions, math, literature and art projects.
The social studies curriculum for the 7-8s is the crux of the day, and integrates other subject areas into our studies as much as possible. The social studies curriculum aims to develop skills in inquiry and research through several studies, including The Family Study and the study of New York City. Through these studies, the students begin by focusing on themselves and then by expanding their scope to investigate the city and world in which they live. Information is gathered through class trips, interviews and book research.
After spending a year looking closely at themselves and their city, the 7-8s’ final piece of the school year is their first trip to the MCS Farm. There they explore daily life working on and running a farm while developing a deep sense of responsibility and independence.
Because 8-9s are developmentally ready, this is the first year that children delve into a study of history separate from the history of their own families. To start, the curriculum will focus on the geography of New York State and the study of the indigenous people of New York State, specifically the Haudenosaunee and the Lenape. Beginning with exploring what the island of Manhattan looked like long ago, students will then work to build an understanding about how environment shapes culture. They will also learn about the Age of Exploration.
Highlights of this study will be field trips and investigations about life in New York from 1624-1664. The examination of various cultures will include mapping skills, world geography, timelines, discussion, reading, research, cooking, science, artwork, and field trips. The sequence of our social studies curriculum is deliberate. These studies help the students to appreciate other cultures, to see similarities and differences, and to understand the universality of basic human needs and rights.
The 9-10s explore the experiences of the many people who have come to the United States, from both historical and contemporary perspectives. They record oral histories of both citizens and immigrants in process. The experiences that they share with us will deepen the students’ understanding of the issues involved in immigration.
Later in the year, students compare the experiences of voluntary immigrants to those of enslaved Africans. What were the experiences of enslaved Africans in New York? How did they work to maintain their home cultures while enslaved? Finally, in what ways have newcomers to the United States influenced the culture of their descendants today? Students also explore New York City as a place with a rich history of immigration, as well as a city where new immigrants arrive each day. We will investigate the language, music, food and other customs that reveal the cultures of people who have immigrated here.
9-10s students visit Ellis Island, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Eldridge Street Synagogue, the African Burial Ground, and the Museum of Chinese in America. Throughout the curriculum, field trips, library research, interviews, dramatizations, and weekly discussions of current events will enrich the students' learning. Current events provide the 9- 10s with opportunities to share articles of interest to them.