Social Studies and the Young Learner
National Council for the Social Studies
Most teachers and administrators have witnessed children using a derogatory reference to a group of people as a put down. Put downs usually reference non-mainstream groups who are different in ethnicity, gender, religion, ability, sexual orientation, class, or appearance. Hurtful name calling is but one example of how children express prejudiced beliefs and attitudes toward particular groups of people; non-mainstream children are also often excluded by their peers from activities and social events. Teachers of young children have the challenging task to help eradicate prejudice and discrimination by teaching about social justice. The purpose of this article is to share a strategy for teaching young children about social justice. Described is a project where second graders responded to picture books that focus on social justice issues. Reading and writing were integrated as children listened to stories with social justice themes, briefly discussed them, and then wrote in their response journals. The primary focus of this article is on the children's written responses. Examples of books that engender discussion about social justice is included. (Contains 1 table and 7 endnotes.)
Dever, M. T., Sorenson, B., & Brodrick, J. (2005). Using picture books as a vehicle to teach young children about social justice. Social Studies and the Young Learner 18(1), 18-21.