Social studies is perhaps one of the most fascinating subjects in our preschool and elementary program. At Sankalpa Academy, our social studies curriculum touches on many aspects - from physical geography, to world cultures, to our shared history and finally to our various forms of civic engagement and government. The discussions will be focused on both where we are today as well as how we got here.
Geography sits at the intersection of social science and natural science. In geography, we explore the different continents, nations, water bodies and landforms of the world and their unique characteristics and environments. The environment, human-environment interaction and historical migrations are a very relevant area of study and perhaps more timely now than ever before.
World cultures exposes our children to the large diversity of traditions, customs and religions and the historical meanings associated with some of these customs. Understanding and reflecting on one’s own culture, the cultures of other people and the similarities and differences between them are important growth opportunities and critical elements of their socio-emotional education.
In the words of Bernard of Chartres, the twelfth century French philosopher, "We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size." In addition to helping us find our roots and anchoring us within the larger social fabric, history can also offer valuable lessons and insights for our future. The willingness to learn from the past is an invaluable skill as it can pave a more informed path when we forge into a relatively unknown future. Since history is often recorded by those who have prevailed, approaching history with a critical eye is essential. Our curriculum therefore covers all aspects of our history - the recorded history, the possible reasons for what transpired and the factors that could have altered the outcomes.
Clearly, the Socratic method lends itself to this type of an in-depth discussion of our history. In fact, the Socratic method of inquiry will be used, when appropriate, to guide our discussions on family structure, relationships, history, civic engagement and government as wel.