Elementary Civics Curriculum: Children Discovering Justice

Children Discovering Justice is a K-5 standards-based civics curriculum developed by Discovering Justice to support and enhance social studies, literacy, and SEL instruction. Students explore topics including community, rules, leadership, and equity while answering the essential question, what is justice and how do I use my voice to advocate for it? The Massachusetts Civic Education Law passed in 2018 calls for comprehensive civics learning for Grades K-12, yet because of competing priorities, civics for elementary students has been a challenge. CDJ is created by teachers, for teachers, offering flexible and engaging modules based on real-time needs of educators in the field.

The K-2 curriculum is currently being piloted in classrooms in Springfield and Boston and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Discovering Justice is looking to expand the program to other districts in the Commonwealth, and you can engage in one or two ways:

  1. Pilot the K-2 curriculum in your district in the fall of 2022 and provide feedback to Discovering Justice. Discovering Justice will offer professional development to support teachers in implementing the curriculum as well as deepening teachers’ content knowledge.
  2. Help develop or pilot Grades 3-5 Children Discovering Justice modules that will be developed in stages starting this spring 2022. (Potential grant opportunities for this work.)

The Children Discovering Justice Modules are:

  • Massachusetts History & Social Sciences Frameworks
  • Standards-based flexible, easily integrated into existing classroom curriculum, community building/SEL routlines
  • Manageable with bite-size lessons (20-30 minutes depending on grade level)
  • Culturally responsive with a focus on representation, criticality and anti-oppression
  • Focused on civic values and practice standards (empathy, civil discourse, perspective-taking, etc.)
  • Virtually accessible – sustainable and adaptable to each classroom, as well as regularly updated
  • Featuring engaging vignettes, activities, and videos of Massachusetts activists and leaders
  • Providing entry point and structure for topical conversations about social justice

To take a look inside the curriculum, watch the curriculum walkthrough video.

Discovering Justice is a civic education nonprofit that works with school districts across Massachusetts to provide high quality programs to students K-12. Our in-school, after-school, and in-courthouse programs help students across the Commonwealth examine the workings of the justice system, explore the ideals of justice and prepare them to engage as critical, compassionate, and active leaders in our democracy.

Please contact Laura Brenner at lbrenner@discoveringjsutice.org if you are interested in the Children Discovering Justice K-5 resources.

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