The elementary school curriculum in the United States has long been shaped by societal forces since its original inception in the colonial era. Although the goal of this entry is not to provide an extensive review of historical roots or an exhaustive description of current trends, it does provide an overview of some of the major developments, issues, tensions, and ideas that have greatly impacted and influenced the field.

The scope and sequence of elementary school curriculum are formed by underlying philosophical beliefs and specific ideas about what skills children need to master by a certain age or developmental phase. Today the typical elementary school curriculum is commonly organized on broad areas such as mathematics, language arts, physical education, science, and social studies. This approach is ...

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