Program Rationale

The Arlington Public Schools Social Studies program is founded on the premise that democracy demands citizens who are informed, interested in the welfare of individuals and society, and committed to the success of democratic processes and values.

The Arlington Public School Social Studies curriculum is designed to promote:

  • a chronological approach that places history in its geographic setting accordingly establishing human activities in time and space,
  • a study of world history that includes the basic ideas of both western and non-western cultures,
  • an emphasis on the study of fundamental democratic principles, civic values and ethical understandings,
  • a focus on economic concepts that have influenced the development of civilizations of the past and present,
  • a scope and sequence in which knowledge and skills are taught in a systematic continuum,
  • an enriched and broader course of study for the primary grades which includes an introduction to world studies,
  • a thematic and conceptual approach that organizes content around universal ideas that transcend time, place, and people,
  • an interdisciplinary approach that integrates history, geography, economics, civics, sociology, psychology, language arts, science, mathematics, and the visual and performing arts,
  • a multicultural perspective that reflects the contributions of men and women of different racial, religious, and ethnic groups,
  • a purposeful linking of past and present that draws parallels among civilizations,
  • a balanced presentation of controversial issues that emphasizes reasonable evidence, not bias or emotion,
  • a variety of learning activities that include debate and discussion, simulations, oral histories, use of primary and secondary documents, writing for understanding, use of technology, historical research, reading of non-fiction and fiction, development and use of time lines, surveys, charts, graphs, maps, globes, and participating in community activities,
  • a variety of teaching practices that
    • make connections to students’ experiences,
    • are active and hands on,
    • are inquiry and discovery based,
    • use multiple intelligences,
    • simulate real-life situations,
    • use instructional technology
    • allow for self-assessment and application of knowledge,
    • maintain high expectations for student work, and
    • use higher order thinking.