Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 621–627 | Cite as

Social Studies, Social Competence and Citizenship in Early Childhood Education: Developmental Principles Guide Appropriate Practice

  • Kristen M. Kemple


The purpose of this article is to examine the nature of appropriate social studies education in the Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten years. The importance of social competence development as a basic foundation of the social studies in the early years of schooling is examined, with particular attention to the commonalities shared between goals and strategies for social competence and for civic ideals and practices. Knowledge of developmental direction in child development is described and illustrated as a tool for considering the importance of using close-to-home lessons built on children’s own experiences, prior to lessons about more distal concepts. Historical foundations of developmentally appropriate social studies are revisited, and their relevance is discussed, with regard to social studies education in the kindergartens and pre-kindergartens of today.


Civics Social competence Social studies Developmental direction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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