Turnbull School

A Private Elementary School in Ottawa

Excellence and Caring since 1992

Social Studies

Social Studies

The goal of our social studies program is to educate students about their local, national and international communities, and their place within these societies. Combining the disciplines of geography and history, we help students develop into informed citizens in a culturally diverse and interdependent world, while instilling an understanding and appreciation of our unique Canadian identity and experience.

Through these studies, students acquire broad-based skills that are vital to future success. These skills include identifying and solving problems, critically evaluating different points of view, making informed decisions on a variety of issues, and engaging in articulate expression and debate.  By exploring various points of view and evaluating a variety of evidence, students practise achieving a balanced perspective when making decisions on issues relevant to their world.

Primary Social Studies

In the JK-SK program, students explore their world and community thorough inquiry based learning and play.  Some topics include community helpers and transportation.

From grades 1 to 3, each grade studies two main strands:  Heritage and Citizenship and Canada and World Connections.  The idea of citizenship and world connections becomes wider with each grade level.  For example, grade 1 studies rules and responsibilities in their own families and classes, and learn about their local communities.  By grades 2 and 3, students are looking at responsibilities of citizens of Canada and the World, and the larger community of their own country.

Because of our small class sizes and abilities of our students, topics are enhanced.  For example, a country study is done in grade one, a family tree project in grade two and a pioneer fair in grade three.  Many field trips address social studies topics.  Their learning is also integrated into art classes, through the study of Canadian artists, and into music classes through the study of Canadian folksongs.  Art, literature, music and video media help to make our social studies classes motivating and interesting for students.

Junior Social Studies

Turnbull School follows the strands and topics of the Ontario Provincial curriculum with enriching culminating activities, such as a Medieval Fair and Model UN.  In the grades 4 to 6 programs, the students receive formal lessons twice a week.  A variety of lesson styles and resources are available to the students and teachers, such as formal texts, videos and field trips.

Each grade level studies two main strands:  Heritage and Citizenship and Canada and World Connections.  The idea of citizenship and world connections becomes wider with each grade level.  For example, grade four studies Canada’s Provinces, Territories and Regions.  By grades five and six, students learn about government in Canada and Canada’s links to the world.

Research skills are taught at all junior grade levels and integrated in other classes, such as Computer Studies and Language Arts.  Students are guided by their teachers and learn how to break down larger assignments into manageable chunks.  Reading for information, note taking, and essay planning are some of the important skills that the students develop over their years in the Junior School.  Some examples of project topics are Ancient Civilizations and Explorers.

Senior Self and Society

When the students reach grade 7 and 8, the Ontario curriculum changes from general social studies to a specific history and geography program, which is called Self & Society.

Grade 7 history covers Canadian history from the earliest inhabitants to the War of 1812. As well as covering the factual material, the students have opportunities to research elements of our past. One of their favourite projects involves creating a timeline, with some topics involving maps, pictures and biographical information.  In geography, the grade 7s learn about earth sciences and the physical geography of Canada.

In the grade 8 program, students learn about the history of Canada from the War of 1812, through the important events surrounding Confederation, and ending with World War I.  Their geography course continues the citizenship strand, exploring the nature of world human geography.  As a culminating experience, the grade 8 students participate in a well-researched group project, a formal debate, for which we invite judges.  This allows students the important experience of going through the steps of planning and presenting their topics as well as the formal elements of defending their position and debating the opposing opinions.