Home > School and Learning > By Grade > Kindergarten > What Your Child Will Learn > Science and Social Studies in a K/1 Classroom

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Science and Social Studies in a K/1 Classroom

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: My six-year-old is in a multi-age classroom -- half of the classroom is kindergarten and the other half is first grade. I've been volunteering in her classroom and notice that they do little or no activities for science and social studies. When they do have a science activity, it is a very basic one, like naming the parts of a weed. I feel like she should be learning more basic stuff about earth, the weather, the community and its people, and maybe even some history. I also think they should be doing more spelling.

I'm more than willing to teach my daughter anything that she needs to learn, but I feel like that is the school's responsibility. She is a very bright little girl and loves to learn new things. Any advice?

A: You can't expect a teacher of a combined kindergarten/first-grade class to spend much time teaching science and social studies. At this level, almost all classroom work needs to be focused on the very important task of teaching the 3R's, especially reading. Your daughter will be exposed to more science and social studies instruction each year until these subjects become an important part of the curriculum in fourth grade.

Because young children learn best through hands-on activities, early science lessons typically involve observations of living and nonliving things. When your daughter studies weeds, she is beginning to learn about the characteristics and structures of plants.

The social studies curriculum at this level stresses the development of social skills. Part of this involves the children learning how to work with each other.

In the future, when you visit your daughter's classroom, notice how the teacher does weave informal instruction in science and social studies into the curriculum. Also, ask the teacher to describe the school's curriculum at this level so you'll know what to expect.

Don't look for much formal instruction in spelling until the second semester. At first, teachers want to encourage children to write and accept their use of invented spelling.

Within every classroom, teachers have children with a wide variety of abilities. Conscientious teachers try to challenge bright young children like your daughter who are so eager to learn. However, parents must also share in the responsibility of teaching their children. Help your daughter learn more about the world from rocks to plants to planes and whatever interests her. Learning should never be limited to the classroom.

More on: Expert Advice

Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks