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Lower School Social Studies

This is where you’ll gain a better understanding of the past, so you can go on to shape your future.

Learning the Past and Present

Our social studies curriculum is designed to introduce and expose students to an inclusive worldview, while helping them to understand their role in our continually changing world. We expand students’ horizons through class projects and outreach programs that encourage them to delve into primary resources, use technology wisely and efficiently, and draw on past events to understand the opportunities and challenges of the future. Throughout their Lower School journey, their classes will touch on topics such as history; individuals, society, and culture; geography; citizenship and government; and economics.


In pre-kindergarten, students are still becoming aware of the greater world. We help increase their awareness by introducing them to other regions of the world and cultures outside of their daily life.

In pre-kindergarten, students may:

  • Realize and respect individual differences
  • Investigate different cultures, traditions, and lifestyles
  • Think as global learners
  • Explore the functions and contributions of community members within a classroom and in society
  • Interpret time-related concepts
  • Celebrate the origins of holidays around the world
  • Understand the contributions of national figures
  • Study various land and water forms
  • Explore maps, globes, and flags

Students in kindergarten learn more about themselves, their families, and their community.

In kindergarten, students may:

  • Begin to explore the world around them, learning about other countries and traditions
  • Learn in an exciting and engaging way with field trips, visiting experts, guests from other countries, and audiovisuals

Now is when students form a cooperative classroom community with guidance from their teachers.

In first grade, students may:

  • Develop concepts about how the world is organized by practicing map reading skills
  • Study citizenship by learning about personal responsibility, appreciation of differences, cooperation, and compromise
  • Begin to compare and contrast cultures to their own, gaining a better understanding of the past and present in relation to their lives, and the lives of others

By this time, students begin to see how different physical environments influence different cultures, while also learning that the actions of individuals make a difference in the world.

In second grade, students may:

  • See how cultural groups interact with each other
  • Learn to work in groups effectively to complete a task or solve a problem

This is when students begin identifying, researching, analyzing, and interpreting primary and secondary sources, so that they begin to understand the relationships among people and events and draw conclusions about them.

In third grade, students may:

  • Study Native Americans from different regions of the United States through the windows of shelter, resources, and culture
  • Gain an understanding of the early Native American cultures indigenous to the Cincinnati area
  • Discover the growth and development of Cincinnati, from its founding to the present
  • Begin to understand how location, geography, and the influx of new cultures influence a city’s development

Students in fourth grade begin their year learning about the landforms and resources of different regions. They also study people who come to live in the United States and the immigration process they experience.

In fourth grade, students may:

  • Study the history of Ohio
  • Learn about the geography, history, government, and economy of their state
  • Explore topics through research, discussion, primary resources, projects, and field trips

During their fifth-grade year, students receive an overview of ancient world cultures, European exploration, and the settlement and history of North America up to the Revolutionary War.

In fifth grade, students may:

  • Learn that geographic setting, culture, economic conditions, governmental decisions, and citizen action shape each major historic event
  • Understand that political, environmental, social, and economic factors cause the movement of people, products, and ideas