Community Work + Social Studies

Community Work: Social Studies and Science, 4s – 7s

In the early years of the Lower School, Social Studies and Science work are deeply intertwined in the classrooms, as children are immersed in experiences that help them better understand their communities and environments. While certain studies may fall neatly into the categories of “Science” or “Social Studies,” at this age the connections among them are very strong, with most explorations highly integrated in nature.  We call these core studies “Community Work.” Whole-class block building is an important arena for learning: children build realistic scaled models based on first-hand research, and then use their structures to deepen their experience through dramatic play and reenactment. 

Greene Hill faculty work collaboratively and reflectively to craft curriculum each year, aligned with core learning concepts for each age group that take into consideration the interests and learning styles of each group of students as well as current events or other real-world learning opportunities, ensuring that students experience a rich, comprehensive curriculum over the course of their time at Greene Hill School.  Specific learning objectives provide benchmarks for student progress in each content area and teachers use a range of formal and informal assessments to assess children’s learning and plan future studies. 

Social Studies, 8s – 10s

In the 8s, 9s, and 10s classes, the main studies of the curriculum, referred to as Community Work in the 4s-7s, move into a Social Studies focus as we introduce more abstract concepts to older students.  The long ago and even the far away are fascinating and motivating topics for older Lower School students to investigate and explore, when they are introduced through the lens of our current context and their lived experiences.  While each age group is guided by essential questions and concepts that are part of our school-wide trajectory and remain consistent from year to year, each group of students digs into Social Studies work in various ways, dependent both on current events and their individual and class interests and questions.  Knowing that students learn best when they can form personal connections to their learning through lived experience and prior knowledge, Social Studies work in the 8s-10s begins with studying these concepts in our current context and time.  Through their Social Studies investigations, Greene Hill 8s-10s broaden their understanding of their place geographically and historically, and further develop their ability to ask questions and make connections between their experiences and those of others now and throughout history.  Our ongoing work around the six elements of Social Justice curriculum is woven throughout these studies, as students consider knowledge of themselves, respect for others, social movements & social change, awareness raising, and social action as they relate to the topics they study and their own lives and experiences.