The Villa Maria social studies curriculum seeks to concretize for students, in a manner and to the degree appropriate for their level of maturity, the social forces, historical events, and natural phenomena which have influenced and continue to influence human development.
Students learn how interaction within and between human societies shapes the individual even as societies are shaped by the choices and value systems of individuals in those societies. Villa Maria strives to develop the students’ ability to make choices that will contribute to the betterment of the human condition. Students learn to identify, define, and resolve social problems. They are encouraged to develop a global perspective that will motivate them to recognize and accept responsible membership in the world community.
Beginning in the primary grades with the study of neighborhoods and communities, students progress to the study of American history and geography, to the study of ancient civilizations, to the study of world history and geography. Course content at each grade level is modified according to the individual needs, interests, and abilities of the students. Teachers incorporate hands-on activities, art and craft projects, map study, and in-school and outside field trips. Students are also taught how to use a traditional textbook and primary source materials. They are required to do research using a variety of sources, and they read theme related novels to broaden their understanding of history. The Villa Maria social studies curriculum is aligned with the Connecticut State Standards.
In the eighth grade World Geography and Cultures course, students learn to understand the different regions of the world and their peoples. They examine political, social, physical, and cultural aspects of life in different regions of the world and develop an appreciation of their place in our emerging global society. They learn about the geography of various regions, the physical features such as mountains, deserts, and oceans. They study the climate and natural resources, and the ways in which people interact with their environment. Students hone their map skills as well as their ability to use graphs and diagrams. They discuss topics of current interest, such as protecting our environment, preventing world famine, and improving world literacy. Understandings developed in this course provide students an excellent background for an in-depth study of Western Civilization in 9th grade.
The Western Civilizations course is designed to make students aware of their place in the world, both historically and in relation to present-day issues, as well as the responsibilities we all share as part of an interdependent, global society. The course requires the use of the library resources and the Internet while doing frequent research on required topics. Students develop essential skills in note taking, organization, reading from primary sources as well as text, oral discussion, and written expression while acquiring important content knowledge. Students demonstrate an understanding of the basic knowledge of history, and apply this knowledge to real world circumstances.