In Kindergarten, students are introduced to basic spatial, temporal, and causal relationships, emphasizing the geographic and historical connections between the world today and the world long ago. Historical empathy for how people lived and worked in the past reinforces the concept of civic behavior: how we interact respectfully with each other, following rules, and respecting the rights of others.
In 1st Grade, the classroom serves as a microcosm of society in which decisions are made with respect for individual responsibility, for other people, and for the rules by which we all must live: fair play, good sportsmanship, and respect for the rights and opinions of others. Students recognize the ways in which they are all part of the same community, sharing principles, goals, and traditions despite their varied ancestry; the forms of diversity in their school and community; and the benefits and challenges of a diverse population.
In 2nd Grade, students explore the lives of actual people who make a difference in their everyday lives and learn the stories of extraordinary people from history, such as Abraham Lincoln, Louis Pasteur, Sitting Bull, George Washington Carver, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, and Jackie Robinson whose achievements have touched them directly or indirectly.
In 3rd Grade, students learn more about our connections to the past and the ways in which particularly local, regional, and national government and traditions have developed and left their marks on current society, providing common memories. Emphasis is on the physical and cultural landscape of California, including the study of American Indians, the subsequent arrival of immigrants, and the impact they have had in forming the character of our contemporary society.
In 4th Grade, students learn the story of their home state, its many waves of immigration beginning with pre-Columbian societies, as well as its continuous diversity, economic energy, and rapid growth. Students also examine the state in the context of the rest of the nation, with an emphasis on the U.S. Constitution and the relationship between state and federal government.
In 5th Grade, students study the development of the nation up to 1850, with an emphasis on the people who were already here, when and from where others arrived, and why they came. They learn that ours is a nation that has a constitution that derives its power from the people, that has gone through a revolution, once sanctioned slavery, experienced conflict over land with the original inhabitants, and experienced a westward movement that took its people across the continent.
In 6th Grade, students expand their understanding of history by studying the people and events that ushered in the dawn of the major Western and non-Western ancient civilizations. Geography is of special significance. Continued emphasis is placed on the everyday lives, problems, and accomplishments of people, their role in developing social, economic, and political structures, as well as in establishing and spreading ideas that helped transform the world forever. Students develop higher levels of critical thinking by considering why civilizations developed where and when they did, why they became dominant, and why they declined. Students analyze the interactions among the various cultures, emphasizing their enduring contributions and the link between the contemporary and ancient worlds.