First grade has been studying the surrounding neighborhood of Sea Crest School as part of their Social Studies curriculum for over a decade. The study is the third part of a four-part project that begins in September with the students learning about themselves and their classmates as individuals and as a community. Then, students move to studying their school, their neighborhood and, finally, the farms and markets on the coast.
The Neighborhood study is a mix of place-based and project-based learning. The students research the inner and outer workings of the neighborhood by generating questions, conducting interviews and going on local field trips. They investigate how the neighborhood is designed to meet its members’ wants and needs by providing goods and services.
Additionally, the students focus on the unique qualities of this community by exploring all it has to offer like the ocean, wildlife, hiking trails, etc. The study culminates in a weeklong “Neighborhood Build” where the students construct a model loosely based on Half Moon Bay. The model is made from 100% recycled materials that are collected from home in the weeks prior.
Beforehand, the students are visited by a city planner who explains how neighborhoods are developed in terms of residential, commercial and mixed-use spaces. Each student creates a business and a home for the neighborhood. Collaboratively, they paint the streets and green spaces and make extras like garbage cans and recycling bins.
Students come together to name their town and the streets. They create a map and a key to personalize their neighborhood. On the final day, we invite parents and family to a ribbon cutting and open the town for viewing. This year’s neighborhood was named “Teamwork Town.”
Thank you to our wonderful first-grade team: Stephanie Hanepen, Lesley Stevens, and Sherri Trigueiro, as well as our parent volunteers for all of their support and encouragement during the neighborhood build and ribbon-cutting ceremony!