Scaffolding Historical Inquiry for Preschoolers: School & Home Active Play-based Explorations is presented by the University of South Florida College of Education thanks to a grant from the Library of Congress. The following resources are designed to help young children understand themselves, others, and the world through community-based historical photographs as content-rich resources while learning to read.
Use these community-based primary sources from the Library of Congress and the Tampa Bay History Center in your classroom with the Tampa Bay ABC Large Cards. Letter-sized pages offer 26 vibrant photographs you can print for your lesson.
Use these community-based primary sources from the Library of Congress and the Tampa Bay History Center in your classroom with the Tampa Bay ABC Cards Deck. Three letter-sized pages offer 26 vibrant photographs you can print and trim for your lesson.
Exploratory learning resources for Tampa Bay area early childhood teachers
“By working with the community-based cultural institutions, preschool teachers are finding that historical learning can start early when the teaching methods are based on children’s participation, play, and activity, and when the content is made relevant to the children. Participating teachers have confirmed just how creative and engaged young children are when interacting with primary sources because the preschoolers connect so immediately with historical images. They become immersed in positive, enriching experiences of exploring together and discovering together. The teachers find that children enjoy revisiting the same materials, and these experiences inform complex, unpredictable engagements as children acquire information about the primary sources and collaborate with others on their inquiry-based exploration.”
– Dr. Ilene Berson, University of South Florida Professor of Early Childhood Education and Principal Investigator
About the project
Scaffolding Historical Inquiry for Preschoolers: School & Home Active Play-based Explorations (SHIP-SHAPE) focuses on strengthening the skills of early childhood teachers in supporting preschoolers’ exploratory learning and play-based inquiry using community-based historical photographs as content-rich resources that help young children understand themselves, others, and the world. The project team has curated collections of community-based primary sources from the Library of Congress and the Tampa Bay History Center into a Tampa Bay ABCs with accompanying interdisciplinary activities and has designed home-school linkages.
Engagement with the collections/exhibitions of community-based cultural institutions extends opportunities for preschool children, educators, and their families to explore history through stories, music, sounds, games, and hands-on experiences. Preschool teachers have been participating in professional development and are implementing these inquiry experiences into their classrooms to foster preschoolers’ problem-solving, critical thinking, and visual literacy skills.
“It is so exciting to observe the growth and development of the Tampa Bay preschool teachers as they embrace primary source pedagogies and make purposeful connections to the Florida Early Learning Standards. The playful and engaging learning experiences that the teachers create connect young children to the local community. Photographs, artwork, and other historical artifacts are powerful objects to stimulate interest and excitement in young children as they closely observe details, reflect on the intent of the creator, and imagine life in another time and place.”
– Dr. Michael Berson, University of South Florida Professor of Social Science Education and Co-Principal Investigator
Looking for more information?
Email Ilene R. Berson, Ph.D., Professor of Early Childhood Education, University of South Florida, College of Education
About the Teaching with Primary Sources Partner Program
Since 2006, the Library has awarded Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) grants to build a nationwide network of organizations that deliver educational programming and create teaching materials and tools based on the Library’s digitized primary sources and other online resources. Each year members of this network, called the TPS Consortium, support tens of thousands of learners to build knowledge, engagement, and critical thinking skills with items from the Library’s collections.
About the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services, and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official U.S. federal legislative information site at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.
Lesson plans designed with state standards in mind.
Looking for resources for your classroom? History Center lesson plans are downloadable and include editable activity PDFs for students. Look for the Florida state standards with every lesson.