The Shipley Magazine

Looking Back, Moving Forward: History Curriculum at Shipley

Strategic Plan Update - Goal #1: Educational Excellence

How is Shipley strengthening students’ ability to engage and lead in an increasingly complex and interconnected world?

The five strategies supporting educational excellence are aimed at equipping students with the skills they will need to thrive and succeed in an increasingly global world, where empathy, critical thinking, and social competencies are essential. In this feature from the Summer/Fall 2023 issue of the Shipley Magazine, we explore how we are addressing these goals in the history curriculum.

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Goals Addressed: 1.1, 1.2, 1.4

“You have to know the past to understand the present.” ~Carl Sagan

In history and social studies, we work to understand the impact of past events and people in the world today. There is a continuous looking back, looking forward, and questioning as students and teachers make meaning of history. In recent years, major curriculum changes have aimed at diversifying the perspectives from which we study the events of the past, developing students’ ability to think globally and work more effectively in partnership with others. A reinvigorated focus on experiential learning is also driving programmatic shifts, with the goal of making learning more meaningful and generating solutions for the real world.

Exploring Multiple Perspectives

Social studies in the Lower School has evolved to explore history from a more diverse set of viewpoints. Books like Jefferson’s Sons, told from the perspective of Thomas Jefferson’s two enslaved sons, or Sophia’s War, told from a young girl’s point of view during the American Revolutionary War, expose students to voices and narratives traditionally left out of history books.

Making History More Global

Shifts in Upper School history requirements will give juniors and seniors more choice in their studies. New explorational electives like World Religions, China after 1500, and Migration Studies demonstrate the department’s commitment to developing students’ ability to understand and appreciate a diverse array of people and societies and their contributions to contemporary realities.

Experiencing History

Whether visiting a station of the Underground Railroad or reenacting a court case in a federal courthouse, field trips bring history to life and off the pages of books. Here are just some of the trips Shipley fourth graders took in 2022-2023.

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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.