Junior School Social Studies Highlights

By Mr. Alex Ross, Head of Socials, Junior School 

Using social responsibility, innovative inquiry and active empathy as touchstones, our social studies program cultivates an interest and respect for the past while giving students the opportunity to reflect on the present. Students are encouraged to share opinions, understand others’ perspectives and demonstrate an ability to think critically, as their cultural literacy evolves in tandem with their knowledge and understanding of the world around them.

Within our new environment and through platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet, students have still been able to connect with each other and their teachers to achieve inquiry-based, collaborative learning. Some examples from this term include:

  • In JK, students have become superheroes of the earth, looking at small ways to make a difference and help the world. This week they will be exploring the ideas of reusing, reducing and recycling.
  • In kindergarten, teachers read aloud the story “My Heart Fills with Happiness” and asked students to recall a memory and then draw and explain it. Students have been sharing stories and experiences about themselves and making connections to one other through sharing circles every morning in homeroom and through different activities on Seesaw. Teachers have also been providing opportunities in sharing circles for students to explain the cause and consequences of events, such as Coronavirus. 
  • In grade 1, students have been focusing on ways we can help save the earth while at home, such as by recycling, planting trees, gardening, turning off water when brushing teeth, and conserving energy by turning off the lights. Students made posters titled “Help Save the Earth” and placed them in the front window of their homes.
  • In grade 2, students have been learning about maps. After learning about the different things that may be found on a map and how to use maps, they started looking at the map of Canada. Students studied the names of provinces and territories in order to locate them on a map.  
  • In grade 3, classes have been learning about the oral traditions of Indigenous Peoples, including the role and importance of storytelling, both in the past and present. 
  • In grade 4, students have been studying and reading about Europeans' and First Peoples' interactions and how the pursuit of valuable natural resources has played a key role in changing the land, people, and communities in Canada. Interactions between First Peoples and Europeans led to both conflict and cooperation, and this continues to shape Canada’s identity. Students have even created digital trading cards for some of the key explorers from this time! 
  • In grade 5, students began a unit on resources, learning about the difference between products, materials and resources through sourcing household items and researching the materials and resources used to make them. 
  • In grade 6, students have made connections between needs, wants and our human rights, explored examples of human rights activism, and investigated human rights issues and violations around the world.   
  • In grade 7, classes have been learning about ethics, especially in the field of anthropology. Our visit to the Museum of Vancouver (prior to Spring Break) and the viewing of an Egyptian mummy sparked a debate on the ethics of keeping precious artifacts from other countries and whether they should be returned. Students have researched current issues in anthropology and developed strong arguments while considering different perspectives.