Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

First Advisor

Emily Cullen-Dunn


The marginalization of Social Studies is not a new phenomenon. As it is slowly being squeezed out of our children’s classrooms, it prompts us to look at the current state of Social Studies in the world and question how we’ve arrived there. This thesis defines Social Studies through multiple perspectives and examines what has influenced it over the years while simultaneously reminding us of both the values and consequences of removing it from the classroom. I propose a solution to our current problem of the decline in Social Studies– the creation of a child-centered, interactive, and inquiry-based curriculum; applying the six following approaches to Social Studies: multiculturalism, interdisciplinary connections, play-based opportunities for students, social issues & civic engagement connections, literature as Social Studies resources, and multi-modal learning opportunities. This thesis also draws forth the ideas of researchers and educators actively working to solve this problem. Finally, reflections from New York City elementary students and my time spent in both a progressive public and charter school helped to develop Wisdom Over the Bridge, a K-6 Curriculum I’ve created to reinstall Social Studies back into the classroom as a core subject.