At Blue Mountain School, we focus on teaching through relationship. We believe that it is vital for our students to develop a deep understanding of the patterns of human relationships, communities, societies and social institutions, and cultures. Our values—relationship and balance, community and diversity, and reverence for life—require a rich social studies progression for all our students.
Whether young students gain an understanding of the wider world by putting their homes on a Floyd County map, or older students learn about what schools look like in other parts of the world or consider different forms of government, we encourage a broad and inclusive worldview nurtured by an age-appropriate study of communities and cultures, geography, history, economics, and civics.
What is Social Studies and Why is it Important
According to the National Council for the Social Studies, social studies is the study of political, economic, cultural, and environmental aspects of societies in the past, present, and future. For elementary school children, as well as for all age groups, social studies have several purposes. The social studies equip them with the knowledge and understanding necessary to live fully in the present while considering the future, enable them to understand and participate effectively in their world, and explain their relationship to other people and to social, economic, and political institutions. Social studies can provide students with the skills for productive problem solving and decision making, as well as for assessing issues and developing the skill of discernment. Above all, social studies help students to integrate these skills and understandings into a framework for responsible citizen participation, whether in their play group, the school, the community, or the world.
Active, curious children need, want, and are able to learn skills that are taught and reinforced in social studies classes. These skills are required for processing information so that they can make generalizations and integrate new information into their developing system of knowledge and understanding of the world.
Social studies enable children to participate effectively now in the groups to which they belong and not to look only to their future participation as adults. Our school itself serves as a laboratory for students to learn social participation directly and not symbolically. Democratic and participatory school and classroom environments are essential to this type of real-world learning, which we celebrate at BMS.
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