The Social Studies/History Department endeavors to instill a love of the social sciences and to develop in all students the skills of the social scientist through their work in grades P-12. Breck students engage in the field of history and social sciences more broadly through researching essential questions, contextualizing sources, and communicating their findings with clarity and persuasiveness. Developing both historical literacy and critical thinking skills, Breck students enhance their holistic understanding of the world and their place in it. We encourage Breck students to explore different areas of our discipline, nurturing global competencies and developing a complex understanding of the United States.
Study of the social sciences enables Breck students to develop cross-cultural competencies by understanding that history is heard and told from cultural perspectives shaped by social, economic, and political factors. Moreover, Breck students examine their own historic identity to not only explore the many diverse and rich cultures in the world, but also identify the multiple stakeholders in a society that view events differently. By adopting different stakeholders’ perspectives and identifying how historical context determines which perspective is more valued at a given time in history, Breck students are able to develop empathy and discover that history has not always given every group a voice. To this end, Breck students investigate differences between historical values and contemporary notions of fairness and justice.
The goals of the Social Studies/History Department are to foster a spirit of inquiry combined with critical thinking and analysis. The department provides opportunities to develop a foundation of knowledge of various times and places in the history of the world. However, in balancing the competing interests of breadth and depth, we believe that more focused study at all grade levels allows students to develop greater interest in and understanding of the people and places in history. Specifically, we strive to:
- Teach history as a dynamic process of recording and interpreting the past.
- Encourage students to grapple with the fact that history is heard and told from perspectives shaped by social, economic, and cultural experiences.
- Illuminate connections between knowledge of the past and understandings of the present.
- Prepare students to live in a diverse and global context with the ability to empathize with diverse individuals and experiences.
- Focus upon skill building, including inquiry, research, analysis, and presentation.
- Develop informed and active citizens at the local, national and global levels.
- Foster meta-cognition among our students so they can formulate and reflect on their personal values.
- Maintain a curriculum that supports the Mission of the school.