Social Studies is the "integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence," as defined by the U.S. American National Council for the Social Studies. Many courses are interdisciplinary and draw upon various fields, including sociology but also political science, history, economics, religious studies, geography, psychology, anthropology and civics. At the elementary school level, social studies generally focuses first on the local community and family. By middle and high school, the social studies curriculum becomes more discipline-based and content-specific. Social studies varies greatly as a subject between countries and curricula and is not synonymous with sociology or social science; some courses borrow heavily from the social and political sciences, whereas others are created independently for schools.
Teaching social studies is essential for helping students make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world. Powerful social studies education prepares students to identify, understand, and work together as an informed citizenry to solve the challenges facing our communities, states, nations, and world.