The Social Studies content area of the Colorado Academic Standards contains four standards: History, Geography, Economics, and Civics. This section provides a broad overview of the requirements of each standard for children in kindergarten through third grade and explains how the content in these Guidelines at earlier ages prepare children for meeting these standards in their formal schooling.
The first standard in the Social Studies content area focuses on children’s understanding of historical people and events. This content helps children to develop moral understanding and define, identify, and create an appreciation of how things change. History also enhances children’s growing ability to read varied sources and develop the skills to make decisions, analyze, interpret, and communicate. The Guidelines for children ages 3–5 years provide a foundation for these skills within the domain of Social Studies Knowledge and Skills: History and Events, which specifies that preschoolers develop an understanding that events happen in the past and how these events relate to one’s self, family, and community. As they enter kindergarten, children build on this knowledge by asking questions and sharing information about the past, and using words that indicate chronological order, such as day, month, year, first, before, after. Children in first grade learn about family and cultural traditions in the Unites States; patterns in time, such as calendars; and how to place events in chronological order. Children in second grade learn about people who have influenced the history of neighborhoods and communities and identify historical sources of information. Children in third grade learn how events and people may change history and places, and how sources relate both historical fact and fiction.
The second standard provides children with an understanding of spatial perspectives; the tools used to analyze space, world regions, and resources; and how places are connected at local, national, and global scales. The Guidelines for children ages 3–5 years provide a foundation for these skills within the domain of Social Studies Knowledge and Skills. Children in kindergarten continue to learn about people and places, in particular that people belong to different groups and live in different places that can be found on a map or globe. By the end of first grade, children understand ways in which people in different groups and communities interact with each other and the environment, and how maps and globes represent places. By the end of second grade, children understand ways in which people manage, modify, and depend on their environment, and they identify and use particular features of maps and globes. By the end of third grade, children develop an understanding of regions and continue to use geographic tools, such as maps and globes.
The third standard includes content related to market forces and trends, economic decision making, personal finances, and managing resources. The Guidelines for children ages 3–5 years provide a foundation for these skills within the domain of Social Studies Knowledge and Skills. The basic knowledge learned in preschool expands as kindergartners learn the idea of ownership and discuss how purchases can be made to meet wants and needs. Children in first grade learn how different types of jobs produce goods and services, and they identify examples of short-term financial goals. Children in second grade learn about the effects of scarce resources and identify components of financial decision making, including the difference between long-term and short-term goals. Children in third grade learn about producers and consumers, the exchange of goods and services, and ways to meet short-term financial goals.
The fourth standard focuses on government, citizenship, and law. The Guidelines for children ages 3–5 years provide a foundation for these skills within the domain of Social Studies Knowledge and Skills, as preschoolers develop an understanding of family structures and the purpose of rules. In kindergarten, children’s knowledge about social structures grows as they learn about ways that democratic decisions are made and how people act as good citizens. In first grade, children learn about the characteristics of leaders and team members, and they give examples of notable people, places, holidays, and patriotic symbols. In second grade, children learn ways that community members advocate for their ideas and resolve conflicts or differences. In third grade, children learn about rights and responsibilities and the origins, structures, and functions of local government.