Social Studies Curriculum

The Lower School Social Studies Program provides students tools that will enable them to be active participants in a multicultural world. The curriculum introduces students to varied ways of learning about their communities, their own larger social world, historical events, and geography. Studying our school community and cultures around the world, students begin to see themselves as responsible, thoughtful, and active global citizens.

Read about the Social Studies Curriculum for Parker's Lower School students:

List of 7 items.

  • Junior Kindergarten

    By the end of junior kindergarten, students are exposed to a variety of relationships including their family, school and heritage. With an emphasis on students getting to know themselves and their school environment, they are introduced to a variety of cultures and people, building toward a more worldwide view. The stories that are read to the students generate an understanding of school community, group cooperation, family, neighborhood, friendship, traditions, environment, far away places, and one's basic needs. Introducing the students to how people lived and worked long ago reinforces the concept of citizenship and civic behavior, teaching how they should interact with each other, follow rules and respect the rights of others.
    Junior-Kindergarten Essential Understandings:

    1. Students know what it means to be a good citizen in the classroom, school, home and community
    2. Students are aware of time and begin to organize their lives around real events.
    3. Students recognize common features in their environment and begin to respect them.
    4. Students know that their community benefits from people working in many different ways.
    5. Students know places have both physical and human characteristics.
  • Senior Kindergarten

    By the end of senior kindergarten, students are introduced to basic spatial, temporal, and causal relationships, emphasizing the geographic and historical connections between the world today and the world long ago. The stories of ordinary and extraordinary people help describe the range and continuity of human experience and introduce the concepts of courage, self-control, justice, heroism, leadership, deliberation, and individual responsibility. Historical empathy for how people lived and worked long ago reinforces the concept of civic behavior: how we interact respectfully with each other, following rules and respecting the rights of others.

    Senior-Kindergarten Essential Understandings:

    1. Students will learn that there are and have been important relationships leading to important geographic and historical connections throughout the world.
    2. Students will learn that the lives that people have led have contributed to a rich story of human experience across time.
    3. Students will learn that good citizenship is and has been an important foundation for living and working well with others.
  • Grade 1

    By the end of grade one, students grasp a more detailed treatment of the broad concepts of rights and responsibilities in the contemporary world. The classroom serves as a microcosm of society in which decisions are made with respect for individual responsibility, for other people, and for the rules by which we all must live: fair play, good sportsmanship, and respect for the rights and opinions of others. Students examine the geographic and economic aspects of life in their own neighborhoods and compare them to those of people long ago. Students explore the varied backgrounds of American citizens and learn about the symbols, icons, and songs that reflect our common heritage.

    First-Grade Essential Understandings:

    1. Students will understand the concepts of the rights and responsibilities in the world today.
    2. Students will respect the rights and opinions of others.
    3. Students will examine the geographic and economic aspects of life today and long ago.
    4. Students will explore various backgrounds of our country’s citizens and how they contribute to America’s heritage.
  • Grade 2

    By the end of second grade, students will have explored many concepts through a core textbook and other resources resources in order to make the curriculum challenging and exciting for all the students. The second grade literacy program often works to compliment the social studies curriculum by deepening authentic understanding through cross-curricular learning. The key topics addressed are:
    • Life now and long ago with an emphasis on ancestry and immigration
    • Map skills, emphasizing the various land types, especially within the state of California
    • The structure of Community, State, and the National Governments
    • How people use the land and natural resources
    • People who have made a difference in the world
    These themes work together to allow students the ability to understand their communities, ancestry, and the world in which they live.

    Second-Grade Essential Understandings:

    1. Students will observe changes that have taken place in their communities and their families.
    2. Students will understand who their ancestors are and compare immigration experiences from texts and stories about American Immigration through Ellis Island and Angel Island.
    3. Students will locate and identify the countries that comprise the continent of North America and distinguish the various land types that are located within this continent.
    4. Students will analyze the structure of community, state and the federal governments.
    5. Students will identify natural resources and explain how they are used in the world around them. Students will develop an appreciation of these resources and visualize the world given these resources are wasted or misused.
    6. Students in grade two explore the lives of actual people who make a difference in their everyday lives and learn the stories of extraordinary people from history whose achievements have touched them, directly or indirectly.
    7. Students will be aware of contemporary people who supply goods and services aids in understanding the complex interdependence in our free-market system.
  • Grade 3

    By the end of grade three, students will have learned more about our connections to the past and the ways in which particularly local, but also regional and national, government and traditions have developed and left their marks on current society, providing common memories. The emphasis is on the physical and cultural landscape of California, including the study of American Indians, the subsequent arrival of immigrants, and the impact they have had in forming the character of our contemporary society.

    Essential Understandings:

    1. Students will be able to determine ways in which physical geography and climate influence how people, from California Indians through people today, adapt to their natural environment.
    2. Students will be able to relate how California communities have changed from the time of explorers through today and how each period of settlement left its mark on the land.
    3. Students will be able to identify the role of rules and laws in our daily lives and the basic structure of the U.S. government, including our roles and responsibilities as citizens.
    4. Students will be able to use maps, tables, graphs, and charts to organize information about people, places, and environments.
    5. Students will be able to demonstrate basic economic reasoning skills and an understanding of the economy of our state and local region.
  • Grade 4

    By the end of fourth-grade, students will have learned about the cultural, economic, and political growth of their state through the study of the four geographical regions of California. Students understand that the various waves of immigration, from the earliest people to the most recent immigrants, create the rich diversity of their state.

    Fourth-Grade Essential Understandings:

    1. Students will be able to locate California in North America and the world and relate how its location and physical features have influenced the growth and development of the state.
    2. Students will be able to describe the various groups of people who have visited California, including Native Americans, explorers, and settlers, and describe the physical challenges they faced in getting to and/or settling California. They will be able to tell how these people had to adapt to and modify their environment in order to survive.
    3. Students will be able to identify the countries that California has been under the control of - SpainMexico, and the United States, and relate how people from these countries have influenced the culture of the state.
    4. Students will be able to explain how California's economy has evolved from the earliest people through the rise of the rancho's cattle industry through the agricultural boom through today's film, biotech, tourism, and aerospace industries. 
    5. Students will be able to explain how the Gold Rush, transcontinental railroad, Dust Bowl and Great Depression as well as the development of the movie, automobile, and aerospace industries greatly increased California's population during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
  • Grade 5

    By the end of fifth-grade, students will have studied the development of the nation, with an emphasis on the people who were already here, when and from where others arrived, and why they came. Students learn about colonial life and government and make connections between early forms of self-government and current government. They recognize that our nation has a constitution that derives it power from the people, that has gone through a revolution, that once sanctioned slavery, that experienced conflict over land with the original inhabitants, and that experienced a westward movement that took its people across the continent. By studying the causes, courses, and consequences of early explorations, the War for Independence, and westward expansion, students gain a fundamental understanding of the principles of the American republic and how they form the basis of a pluralistic society where individual rights are secured.

    Fifth-Grade Essential Understandings:

    1. Students describe the geography, customs, traditions, economies, and governments of the major pre-Columbian societies inhabiting the Americas.
    2. Students explain the aims, obstacles, and accomplishments of early explorers, the technological developments that made them possible, and the routes they took, including routes that linked Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America.
    3. Students describe the cooperation and conflict that existed among the American Indians and between the Indian nations and the new settlers.
    4. Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.
    5. Students explain the causes of the American Revolution, including political, religious, and economic ideas, and understand the significance of the first and second Continental Congress and the events associated with the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence.
    6. Students understand the course and consequences of the American Revolution, including the contributions of Europeans and native Americans and women, and understand the personal and economic hardship of war on families.
    7. Students describe the people and events associated with the development of the U.S. Constitution and analyze the Constitution’s significance as the foundation of the American republic.
Francis Parker School is a private, independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12 from across San Diego County. Founded in 1912, the Lower School is located on the Mission Hills Campus with the Upper and Middle Schools on the Linda Vista Campus. Parker's mission is to inspire a diverse community of independent thinkers whose academic excellence, global perspective and strength of character prepare them to make a meaningful difference in the world.

Mission Hills Campus Lower School

4201 Randolph Street
San Diego, CA 92103

Linda Vista Campus Middle/Upper School

6501 Linda Vista Road
San Diego, CA 92111
858 / 569-7900