Raising a socially connected child that understands the world around them.
From the moment your little learner becomes a citizen of the world, she’s absorbing everything around her. What day and night look like, smells and sounds in her environment, and the voices of the people around her. “Social studies” is just a complicated way to say “learning about people.” And as she learns about the world at her own pace, you can give her experiences context and meaning.
A little extra support can help your child discover what it means to be part of a community and the different ways she is capable of making a difference.
I’m part of something bigger.
Going for walks or running errands in the car or city bus shows your toddler that their home is on a street within a town within a state.
“Do you know which house is ours?”
“What do you see every time we leave the house?”
Talking to neighbors, teachers, police officers or firefighters helps your toddler learn that he lives in a community with leaders, workers and friends.
“What does the mail carrier bring us every day?”
“Do you know who lives in the blue house?”
Celebrating birthdays or singing “Happy Birthday” lets her know she is her own person, but also part of a community where milestones are something to celebrate. When you explain these concepts to your child, it helps her understand she is part of something bigger.
“Today is grandma’s birthday! Do you know when your birthday is?”
“How do you want to celebrate your birthday?”
Together We Can Do It.
What happens when we all agree on doing something? What jobs need to be done around the house or in the classroom? And, most importantly, how does it help if we all work together? When you show him what team work looks like, your child learns about recognizing the talents of different people. What’s more, they see the potential of several people combining their skills.
“I am making dinner and your brother is washing the dishes. Can you help with setting the table?”
“Let’s clean the yard! I can mow the lawn, and you can help rake the leaves.”
Because she lives in a democracy, it’s important that she knows what voting is, and why we do it. This idea may come easily to her if she’s ever “cast a vote” for a certain dinner or special treat!
“There are five of us here. Let’s take a vote to decide what we’re having for dessert. Raise your hand if you want ice cream, now raise your hand if you want cake.”
“Let’s take a walk! Raise your hand if you want to go to the park. Okay, now who wants to go to the big hill?”
Setting an example.
There are many people and organizations in the state of Indiana working in groups to make a difference. What they do varies from community to community, depending on the needs and opinions of the people who are part of those communities.
Do you want to connect with people who are working together in your community to support early learning? The best place to start is by getting in touch with your closest child care resource and referral agency.
“I’d like to get involved and help. Are there any groups meeting where I can help or volunteer?”
If there is no group: “Who else cares about helping that I can talk with?”
If there are no organizations you can get involved with, try connecting with your child’s school’s PTO or other groups connected to their school. You can also start a group in your community — a group of adults coming together to discuss making a difference is a great place to start!
Build Your Child’s Brighter Future!
Want to dive deeper into social studies with your little one?
Check out our Play and Learning guidance about Social Studies for:
- Babies — Take your baby to a parade or a birthday party and watch as she absorbs all the sights and sounds that go with it!
- One-year-olds — She’s been watching you carry out your responsibilities day after day, and she’s ready to start contributing.
- Two-year-olds — Your little global citizen is learning about her social environment, how it functions, and what her place is within it.
- Three-year-olds — As your child begins to realize the size and scope of the world, he also begins to realize where he fits into it.
- Pre-K learners — Just as we live in a certain place, we all live in a certain time, and the past has influenced the present in all kinds of ways.