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Social Studies

At Wilkinson School, the students cover the themes and content that students would cover at other schools, but they don’t just read textbooks and watch videos: they walk on the grounds of historical places. This studies are covered in a four year rotation.

The American Southwest: Ancient Civilizations

Ancient civilizations is a favorite topic for many students as they’re studying history. The ancient world is full of so many mysteries is so different from our world today that the content often elicits a sense of wonder. The places and the cultures seem culturally, historically, and geographically distant. However, the places that we visit on this trip are actually so close.

As they study the Egyptian pyramids and the Mayan temples, many Americans don’t realize the ancient wonders that await us within our own borders. The cultures of the indigenous Americans and the monuments of their ancestors can be found in plenty across the states of the Southwest. New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon, Colorado’s Mesa Verde, and Arizona’s Hopi Reservation are just a few of the sites that we visit as we traverse the area and consider what we’ve learned about the development of culture in the ancient world.


The British Isles: Old World Heritage

As we move from year to year and trip to trip, we also move forward in history. Our next year leads the students on the transition between the Ancient World and the beginning of our very country.

By studying Old World Heritage in British history, we hit many of the most significant periods of world history through the lense of the peoples of the British Isles. Bronze Age Britons, Romans far from home, invading Vikings, the Angles, the Saxons, and the Normans all paint a pictures of the world as it existed before any European set foot in the New World.

As we travel across England for two weeks, we’ll see evidence of this history every where. Long neglected walls, curious street names, crumbled remains, and monuments of marble will bring our studies and our history to life.

New England: The American Revolution

After finishing the previous year with the Tudors and the Age of Exploration, we transition smoothly into the New World. During the third year of the rotation, we explore the development of our new nation, from Jamestown through the Constitution. For this Intensive Studies Trip, we hop on a plane bound for the East Coast.

Many schools take a trip to Washington, DC or Boston, but few hit both and everything in between. Jamestown, Williamsburg, DC, Philly, New York, and Boston: every one of these cities has something to tell us about the story of America, and we don’t want to miss any of that story. Our last time around, we were lucky enough to engage in the latest iteration of the story of America’s founding, attending Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical, Hamilton, on Broadway, right in the middle of NYC, the greatest city in the world. The walls of Jamestown, the halls of Congress, and the bridge over the Concord River pull together the pieces of this historic story.


The South: Civil War to Civil Rights

The final year of our rotation is also the most powerful. The struggle for Civil Rights for in America was the height of the American dream, and serves as an example of the immense progress that can be achieved by impassioned engagement in a democratic nation. The emotions involved are powerful. At the same time, this is also the most recent topic we study, which raises the intensity of those emotions all the more.

Our studies for this year start with the history of slavery in America (overlapping last year’s timeline), before moving into the Civil War and, in the end, through the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th Century. Once again, after engaging these topics in the classroom, we board a plane and travel East to walk in the footsteps of history. Minds will be moved and tears will be shed as we examine the scar and the stars of America’s struggle to provide equal rights to all.

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