Early Childhood in the Social Studies Context (2023)

NCSS Position Statement

Approved by the NCSS Board of DirectorsMarch 2019

As young children engage in their play and daily activities, they show a natural interest in the world around them. Early childhood educators may capitalize on these interests and carefully plan a variety of experiences with social studies in mind, cultivating and extending young children’s diverse skills and abilities to form and voice opinions, identify and solve problems, negotiate roles, perceive diversity and inequality, and recognize the consequences of their decisions and behaviors on others. Social studies is a vital part of the early childhood curriculum, since children’s formative experiences shape their attitudes as “citizens of their classroom, their schools, and of the larger community” (Mardell, 2011).

Given the importance of early years educators in creating learning environments and experiences that foster young children’s skills as active citizens committed to inclusion and equity, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) affirms pedagogic practices in the early years that support young children’s progression of social studies learning in early childhood settings. This includes a focus on the materials, resources, and interactions needed to support young children’s skills and dispositions. NCSS recognizes the developmental continuum of social studies learning, and this statement focuses primarily on young children from age 3 through preschool/prekindergarten. This document complements the NCSS position statement on Powerful, Purposeful Pedagogy in Elementary School Social Studies (NCSS, 2017).

Early Childhood Experiences
The foundation of early childhood education is built upon relationships that children develop in their homes, communities, and schools. In these settings, children meet new friends, learn to get along with others, share their opinions, engage in decision making, and contribute as a member of a group. Young children develop an understanding of the roles that they enact as citizens of a democratic society as they participate in activities that allow them to express their compassion, caring, and desire to help others (Project Zero, 2016). Numerous examples showcase the capacity of young children to discuss, debate, and think critically to solve important problems as they interact with others to accomplish goals together (Haywoode, 2018; Ardalan, 2017; Krechevsky et al., 2016; Krechevsky, Mardell, & Reese, 2015; Mardell & Carpenter, 2012; Hall & Rudkin, 2011).

Social studies learning offers many valuable components in supporting early learners as they identify real world problems and participate in creating an inclusive and caring democratic society. Through the social studies, children explore and ask questions about social systems, the abstract societal norms and values affecting human relationships and interactions in everyday life. These include nonverbal yet observable social cues that reflect subtle forms of bias, discrimination, and inequity. Young children take note of these early on, both through implicit and explicit means, throughout their daily experiences and interactions.

Additionally, social conceptsrepresent what most educators would call the content or disciplinary areas of social studies. Social concepts are introduced and embedded in children’s learning through various means, ranging from read alouds, classroom centers, and/or explicit instruction and conversations on topic areas. Social concepts should focus on topics or themes that are representative of real-world situations and/or problems children face in their classroom and community as well as current events (Mindes, 2015).

Teachers serve a direct role in how young children are exposed to social studies, both the systems and concepts. This includes providing a nurturing environment as well as intentional topics focusing on self, the family, the center or school, and the local community (Mindes, 2015). Best practices include providing learning opportunities that are developmentally appropriate (Copple & Bredekamp, 2009); offering contributions to the school/program culture; and supporting specific skills reflective of social emotional expectations, approaches to learning, and social skills as appropriate (Mindes, 2015).

In the early childhood classroom, social studies content is best presented as part of inquiry-based learning experiences that put children’s interests at the heart of learning. Inquiry-based learning is a common instructional practice that capitalizes on opportunities supportive of social system and social concept learning. This includes offering topics of study that focus on child interest, social context, and real-world problems in an effort to connect learning to authentic experiences that engage children. Project-based learning offers such an opportunity (Helm & Katz, 2000). A project is an in-depth study of a real-world topic that typically occurs over a period of weeks or even months. Projects provide a context for young learners to apply their growing academic knowledge and skills in authentic ways (Katz, Chard, and Kogan, 2014). Through engagement in inquiry-based learning, young children are provided opportunities to explore and interact, which both influence and shape their knowledge and skills across social studies domains as well as other integrated curricular areas. As children share their receptive and expressive understandings of the social context, they represent what they are learning in a variety of ways (e.g., writing, drawing, painting, dramatic play, 3-dimensional construction, music and movement, and graphics). Inquiry-based learning also provides group learning opportunities that serve a common goal and purpose, which offers children ownership and belonging through a collaborative situation (Mindes, 2005).

(Video) SOCIAL STUDIES in Early Childhood Education

Additionally, language and communication skills, critical thinking, and learning behaviors (i.e., approaches to learning) such as engagement and persistence are supported as children interact and work through various experiences. Teachers can then build on the naturally occurring learning through intentional efforts to scaffold dialogue to present various perspectives and offer evidence of different arguments, while also modeling respect for different opinions and viewpoints.

In the early years, inquiry emerges and is enacted through play-based modalities. Through structured and free play, children establish meaningful relationships with peers and educators, and engage in physical, cognitive, linguistic and socio-emotional aspects of learning. This process of learning through play is age-appropriate and naturally occurring for young children (Epstein, 2014; Gronlund & Rendon, 2017; Mindes, 2005, 2015). Dramatic play learning centers provide such an opportunity for child-directed, creative experiences, and early childhood educators often intentionally utilize the dramatic play center as a setting in which children explore and address topics of study related to social studies (Epstein, 2014; Gronlund & Rendon, 2017; Mindes, 2005, 2015). Accordingly, early childhood programs should furnish materials and sustained periods of time that enable children to engage in projects that allow for rich and deep social studies learning.

Through these authentic experiences, teachers may rely on systematic instruction, responsive instruction to child-initiated play, and teacher-guided instruction to align children’s outcomes to early learning standards and support skills that are foundational for the C3 Framework (Gronlund & Rendon, 2017). Although state early learning standards for social studies may vary, they most commonly reflect elements of learning in both social systems and social concepts areas such as: (1) membership in a democratic classroom community, (2) location and place relationships, (3) similarities and differences among personal and family characteristics, (4) basic economic principles relative to the lives of young children, and (5) an appreciation of one’s own and other cultures in a diverse society (Epstein, 2014).

Culturally Responsive Teaching
Early childhood educators may either diminish or exacerbate social inequalities in the classroom, based on how they approach children’s socio-cultural, ethnic, religious, and gendered diversity. As teachers utilize instructional practices that are child-driven and based on interest, equally important is staying attuned to culturally relevant pedagogy and practices (Durden, Escalante, & Blitch, 2015; Gay, 2000; Ladson-Billings, 1995). Basic tenets of these include “attention to the achievement of [all] children including those … minoritized and marginalized; constructing curriculum and instructional practice in ways … including the knowledge, histories, and communicative styles of those [both inside] and outside the dominant culture; and developing children’s abilities to … use learning to affect social change”(Goodman & Hooks, 2016, p.34).

Critical to the notion of culturally responsive teaching is the daily environment of young children, where they learn about and experience social studies systems and processes. This environment is not only a physical space, but a social one, ripe for interactions and learning opportunities in relation to social systems and concepts. The environment conveys both nonverbal and verbal messages to both inhabitants and visitors about those things valued and coveted by society. For example, early childhood educators must prioritize the correct pronunciation of children’s names, which provide powerful links to young learners’ individual identity and ancestral heritage. When young children see themselves represented and acknowledged in their environment, their notion of belonging and membership in the classroom community are positively supported (Catalino & Meyer, 2016; Mindes, 2015).

More directly, the social system and concepts viewed in the environment matter. This includes not only the vocabulary children hear, but also children’s exposure to visual representations, play materials, and literature genre reflective of the various family structures, languages, and racial/ethnic cultures as well as other characteristics of the larger community (Catalino & Meyer, 2016; Mindes, 2015). With intentional efforts, teachers may explicitly engage with social justice issues, such as racism, sexism, and economic inequality, and introduce young children to the ways in which societal change happens to counter bias and discrimination.

Consequently, early educators must create learning environments in a thoughtful and aesthetic way to enrich children’s learning experiences. Environments should evolve to reflect the interests of the children and adults in the classroom. Children need to see themselves in their respective and varying communities. A child’s feelings of belonging and group membership, as well as opportunities to experience the pleasure of community contributions, will guide his or her conscious decisions to engage in the community as a citizen.

Equally important is the role of families in supporting their children’s learning in social studies contexts. Families should be viewed as collaborators in establishing a sociocultural context of respect and partnership in early education environments (Epstein, 2014; Mindes, 2005, 2015). Classroom topics of study should illustrate examples of various family structures and cultural traditions. These practices not only foster children’s social and emotional learning at home and in alternative environments; they provide intentional life experiences to enhance children’s awareness of the wider community and world around them (Mindes, 2015). Teachers should use multiple strategies to engage families, including inviting family members to share their experiences and valuing the role of families as partners in making decisions about their child’s education (Durden et al., 2015).

NCSS recommends that early childhood educators should uphold the following principles and approaches in their work with young children:

Young children have the capacity to use the skills of reasoning and inquiry to investigate social studies concepts as they explore how people interact in the world.Educators should recognize the value and importance of fostering young children’s curiosity and provide experiences in the early years that connect social studies content to young children’s roles as active citizens committed to inclusion and equity. Social studies experiences are already represented in children’s play and the interactions that they encounter in their lives, but educators need to intentionally ask questions that provoke clarifications and expand children’s ability to discuss, debate, and think critically for deeper understanding (Strasser & Bresson, 2017).

Early childhood is a time when the foundations of social studies are established, and curricular standards should explicitly attend to engaging and developing young children’s capacity for citizenship, democratic or civic activity, and participation in decision-making, as well as critical disciplinary literacies.As teachers tap into children’s interests to plan open-ended, inquiry-based explorations, young learners’ formative experiences will constitute the basis for ongoing growth of the social studies content and process skills defined in the NCSS National Curriculum Standards and in the C3 Framework (NCSS, 2010, 2013). Although many states explicitly attend to social studies knowledge and skill development in the early years (e.g., see the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards at http://flbt5.floridaearlylearning.com/standards.html#d=VIIand the Illinois Early Learning and Developmental Standards at www.isbe.net/documents/early_learning_standards.pdf), early childhood practitioners are encouraged to draw from the local context in which they teach and children’s interests to guide their planning and instruction.

As teachers set the tone for children’s social studies learning, it is critical that curricular and instructional decisions embrace diversity and social justice while intentionally contesting bias and inequity.Providing a classroom explicitly focused on diversity among children’s cultures and languages is integral to ensuring that social systems and social concepts are represented in a learning environment that fosters inclusion and equity. Also critical are efforts by teachers and providers to intentionally embed diverse languages, materials, and experiences in the early childhood classroom (Durden et al., 2015; Gay, 2000; Goodman & Hooks, 2016; Ladson-Billings, 1995).

(Video) Why learning needs a social context

Young children need multiple and varied opportunities to engage in social studies inquiry.To build understanding of social studies concepts, young children need opportunities to engage in extended investigation of topics of interest, drawing on a variety of materials that offer multiple perspectives and foster classroom communities built on inclusive and democratic values.

Early childhood educators should receive social studies-specific professional development that includes guidance on how to teach social studies to young learners to cultivate bias-free and discrimination-free communities.Many educators underestimate the capacity of young children to have an opinion and engage in the cultural and civic life of a community. Lack of appropriate preparation may cause both preservice and experienced teachers to fail to see social studies as a priority for young children and to lack confidence in their ability to teach social studies effectively. Thus, both preservice education and continuing professional development experiences need to place greater emphasis on encouraging teachers’ repertoire of pedagogic practices, materials, and resources for building positive social studies attitudes and dispositions, valuing the contributions of young children as citizens who enrich their communities now and in the future.

There is a need for the social studies community to engage in further research on early childhood social studies curriculum and instruction.The ways in which early childhood social studies is conceived and citizenship is enacted in practice with young children are under-researched areas of scholarship, and the existing research is typically highly contextualized. To advance the available evidence about young children, it will be necessary to conduct empirical research across diverse contexts and investigate how instructional practices can enhance young students' historical skill development and associated civic competencies, including children’s perspectives on the choices and challenges they experience, their reactions to the experiences of others, and their developing responses to matters of social justice, participation, and agency.


Ardalan, G. (2017). Spreading happiness: A preschool classroom in Washington, DC, investigates citizenship and makes a statement—“Be happy!” Young Children, 72 (2), 64–71.

Beneke, M. R., Park, C. C., & Taitingfong, J. (2018). An inclusive, anti-bias framework for teaching and learning about race with young children. Young Exceptional Children. https://doi.org/10.1177/1096250618811842

Catalino, T., & Meyer, L. E. (Eds.). (2016). Environment: Promoting meaningful access, participation, and inclusion(DEC Recommended Practices Monograph Series No.2). Washington, DC: Division for Early Childhood.

Copple, C., & Bredekamp, S. (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Derman-Sparks, L., & Edwards, J. O. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Derman-Sparks, L., LeeKeenan, D., & Nimmo, J. (2015). Leading anti-bias early childhood educators: A guide to change. New York: Teachers College Press.

Durden, T. R., Escalante, E., & Blitch, K. (2015). Start with us! Culturally relevant pedagogy in the preschool classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 43 (3), 223–232.

Epstein, A. S. (2014). Preschool: Social studies in preschool? Yes! Young Children, 69(1), 78-83.

(Video) Early Childhood Development and Policy in a Global Context

Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, & practice. New York: Teachers College Press.

Goodman, K., & Hooks, L. (2016). Encouraging family involvement through culturally relevant pedagogy. SRATE Journal, 25 (2), 33–41.

Gronlund, G., & Rendon, T. (2017). Saving play: Addressing standards through play-based learning in preschool and kindergarten. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.

Hall, E. L., & Rudkin, J. K. (2011). Seen & heard: Children’s rights in early childhood education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Haywoode, A. (2018). City Connects prompts data-driven action in community schools in the Bronx. Phi Delta Kappan, 99(5), 44-46.

Helm, J. H., & Katz, L. (2000). Young investigators: The project approach in the early years. New York: Teachers College Press.

Katz, L. G., Chard, S. C., & Kogan, Y. (2014). Engaging children’s minds: The project approach. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Krechevsky, M., Mardell, B., Filippini, T., & Tedeschi, M. (2016). Children are citizens: The everyday and the razzle-dazzle. Innovations in Early Education: The International Reggio Emilia Exchange, 23(4), 4–15.

Krechevsky, M., Mardell, B., & Reese, J. (2015). Children are citizens book. Project Zero, Harvard University Graduate School of Education. www.pz.harvard.edu/resources/children-are-citizens-book-2015

Krechevsky, M., Mardell, B., & Romans, A. N. (2014). Engaging city hall: Children as citizens. The New Educator, 10(1), 10-20.

Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). But that’s just good teaching! The case for culturally relevant pedagogy. Theory into Practice, 34 (3), 159–165.

Mardell, B. (2011). Learning is a team sport: Kindergartners study the Boston marathon (video). Project Zero, Harvard University Graduate School of Education. www.pz.harvard.edu/resources/learning-is-a-team-sport-kindergartners-study-the-boston-marathon.

(Video) What is the most important influence on child development | Tom Weisner | TEDxUCLA

Mardell, B., & Carpenter, B. (2012). Places to play in Providence: Valuing preschool children as citizens. Young Children, 67(5), 76–78.

Mindes, G. (2005). Social studies in today’s early childhood curricula. Young Children, 60(5), 12–18.

Mindes, G. (2015). Preschool through grade 3: Pushing up the social studies from early childhood education to the world. Young Children, 70(3), 10–15.

National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) (2010). National curriculum standards for social studies: A framework for teaching, learning, and assessment. Silver Spring, MD: National Council for the Social Studies.

National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) (2013). The college, career, and civic life (C3) framework for social studies state standards: Guidance for enhancing the rigor of K-12 civics, economics, geography, and history. Silver Spring, MD: National Council for the Social Studies.

National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) (2017). Powerful, purposeful pedagogy in elementary social studies. www.socialstudies.org/positions/powerfulandpurposeful.

Project Zero, Harvard University Graduate School of Education. 2016. Children are citizens. www.pz.harvard.edu/projects/children-are-citizens.

Strasser, J., & Bresson, L. M. (2017). Big questions for young minds: Extending children's thinking. National Association for the Education of Young Children.

This position paper was written by:

Kimberly Villotti,Administrative Consultant, Bureau of Leading, Teaching, & Learning Services, Iowa Department of Education.

Ilene Berson, Ph.D., NCSP, Professor, Area Coordinator of Early Childhood Programs and Early Childhood Ph.D. Coordinator, University of South Florida.


What is social context in early childhood? ›

Children grow up in specific physical, social, cultural, economic and historical circumstances (their socio-cultural context), all of which will influence their childhood. Research has shown that children's socio-cultural context can have a large influence on their development.

What is context in early childhood education? ›

Thus, for the purposes of the present study, a context is child managed when children have free or limited choice (e.g., centers) over their activities; contexts are teacher managed if children do not have a choice in activities that are provided or led by the teacher.

What is context in social studies? ›

Historical context is the social, political, cultural, economic, and environmental situations that influence the events or trends we see happen during that time.

What is the role and importance of social studies in early childhood education? ›

The primary purpose of social studies is to prepare children to become informed and en- gaged citizens in a culturally diverse, rapidly changing, and interdependent world. Children will learn about diverse cultures, languages, and abilities as well as the importance of in- cluding all people.

What are examples of social context? ›

Social context can influence how someone perceives something. For example, a person who is trying a new food in an unwelcoming or harsh environment might perceive the food as tasting bad and not like it in the future.

How does social context affect child development? ›

Social interactions permit young children to engage in activities such as play which enhances their fine and gross motor skills and develop their self-regulation. As children develop physically and mentally, they engage in social activities enabling them to interact with their surroundings.

What are the 5 main types of contexts? ›

Here are the broad categories of context we will consider in this class.
  • Authorial context. Another term for this is biographical context. ...
  • Socio-historical context. ...
  • Philosophical context. ...
  • Literary context. ...
  • Critical context.

What is context Short answer? ›

Context means the setting of a word or event.

What are the three types of context? ›

The 3 Kinds of Context
  • Industry context.
  • Data context.
  • Transfer context.
Apr 26, 2017

What are the 7 types of context? ›

Some types of context clues lend themselves more naturally to a specific genre of literature than another.
  • Definition Clues. ...
  • Synonym Clues. ...
  • Antonym Clues. ...
  • Punctuation Clues. ...
  • Example Clues. ...
  • Inference Clues.
May 13, 2022

What are the four types of context? ›

Four types of context clues:
  • Rewording.
  • Synonym.
  • Antonym.
  • General sense of passage.

What is social learning in early childhood education? ›

Social learning theory suggests that social modeling and good behavior are powerful classroom tools. If children see positive outcomes from an action such as paying attention to the lesson, they are more likely to perform that action themselves.

What do kids learn in social studies? ›

An elementary social studies curriculum should provide students with the basic elements of geography, history, civics and economics, and introduce the three branches of the U.S. government.

What are 3 Importance of social studies? ›

Studying social studies helps students figure out their role in society as well as their place in history. By studying the past, students learn how institutions, traditions and ideals change as society modernizes. They also learn how cause and effect influence relationships between individuals, groups and nations.

Why is social context important? ›

Context will determine whether you jump in to help or run away in fear. In sum, social situations are shaped by contextual factors that affect how you feel and act. Contextual cues are important for interpreting social situations.

What is social context in the classroom? ›

Social Context Defined

The study of the social context within the classroom is a complex examination of relationships that are continually changing, influencing and being influenced by such factors as behaviors, emotions, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions.

What are the three social contexts that influence development? ›

It is essential to understand that child development and learning occur within a social-cultural, political, and historical context.

Why is social context important in education? ›

Opportunities for meaningful advisement, development of friendships, and testing of ideas and talents are affected by the social context. Teacher-student interaction is more influential if it is characterized by concern for student development and for teaching.

What are the three context of child development? ›

Having separate contextual indices can enable tracking, monitoring, and assessment of the implications of children's contexts and their ultimate effect on outcomes. across three contextual domains: • Family; Neighborhood; and • Socio-demographic factors.

What is the social context of development? ›

theory focuses on the social contexts in which people live and the people who influence their development. Microsystem: Direct interactions with parents, teachers, peers, and others. Mesosystem: Linkages between microsystems such as family and school, and relationships between students and peers.

What are examples of example context clues? ›

Context clues are hints you can find about a word's meaning by looking carefully at the other words in a sentence. Example: Gerard was so hungry that for lunch he consumed three sandwiches and a quart of milk. The sentence gives context clues (hints) that Gerard was hungry.

What is the importance of context? ›

Context is importance because it helps you connect and create a relationship with the reader. It helps you communicate your point of view clearly making it easier to understand. It allows you and others to be more creative.

What are examples of context clues for kids? ›

Definition Context Clue– My friend is sometimes hasty when he does his homework. He does it too quickly and is careless. Synonym Context Clue– I was astonished and amazed when I won free tickets to the concert! Antonym Context Clue– My sister is compassionate but sometimes she can be mean.

How do you answer a context question? ›

Read the sentence in which the given word is found. Think of a synonym/antonym (as asked) of the given word before looking at the answer options. Look for the context clues to arrive at the right word. Now, try to match you own answer with the words given in the answer choices.

Can you explain the context? ›

Context is the facets of a situation, fictional or non-fictional, that inspire feelings, thoughts and beliefs of groups and individuals. It is the background information that allows people to make informed decisions. Most of the time, the view of a person on a subject will be made in response to the presented context.

What is called context? ›

con·​text ˈkän-ˌtekst. Synonyms of context. : the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning. : the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs : environment, setting.

What are two types of context? ›

There are two types of context: physical context (such as where a sign is located) and linguistic context (such as preceding sentences in a passage).

What are the elements of context? ›

This chapter thus will discuss five essential elements for being context awareness including context acquisition, context modeling, context reasoning, context dissemination, and context adaptation.

What are the 5 types of context clues and examples? ›

The five types of context clues are:
  • Definition/Explanation Clues. Sometimes a word's or phrase's meaning is explained immediately after its use. ...
  • Restatement/Synonym Clues. Sometimes a hard word or phrase is said in a simple way. ...
  • Contrast/Antonym Clues. ...
  • Inference/General Context Clues. ...
  • Punctuation.

What are the different contexts of learning? ›

Within a classroom, a lecture, a laboratory assignment, a shared project, the discussion of a case study, all are learning contexts.

What are 3 of the 4 main types of context clues? ›

For instance, Nist and Mohr (2002) introduce four types of context clues: examples, synonyms, antonyms, and general sense of a sentence.

What is learning context and example? ›

To understand the learning context, it is important to observe the characteristics of the physical environment where people work and learn. For example, the stressful environment of a hospital or the noisy environment of a stock exchange presents different challenges for performance support than that of a quiet office.

What is context based learning example? ›

Students learn their biology through real-life contexts. Television news, newspaper re- ports and even crime and other dramas on TV and film, all provide examples of biology in context based learning approach.

What does context mean in education? ›

Definition. Learning context refers to students' perceptions of the course and the teaching/learning requirements.

What are different types of context answer? ›

Four Types of Context in Writing. There are several types of context, including cultural, historical, physical, and rhetorical.

What is the context of a story? ›

Context is information that helps the message of a literary text make sense. Whether it's a novel, a memoir, or a collection of short stories, a piece of writing can be interpreted variably depending on the contextual factors you provide as the author.

What is the social context of a classroom? ›

Social Context Defined

The study of the social context within the classroom is a complex examination of relationships that are continually changing, influencing and being influenced by such factors as behaviors, emotions, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions.

What are the 5 contexts of development? ›

“Those domains are social, emotional, physical, cognitive and language.” The five critical domains inform the JBSA CDPs' approach to early childhood education, but they also can provide a blueprint for parents as they facilitate their children's development.

How do you apply the context of learning in the classroom? ›

How can we implement 'Contextual learning' into higher education?
  1. Facilitate learning activities that allow students to think about potential and real-world applications of their knowledge. ...
  2. Integrate real-world and workplace problems into learning activities and assessment as a way to teach the content.
Mar 4, 2022

What are the context of learning? ›

Definition. Learning context refers to students' perceptions of the course and the teaching/learning requirements.

Why is context important in classroom? ›

Classroom context is the way a teacher chooses to manage the daily concerns of teaching that indirectly shapes the perceptions of students.

What are the three importance of context? ›

Context is critical, because it tells you, the receiver, what importance to place on something, what assumptions to draw (or not) about what is being communicated, and most importantly, it puts meaning into the message.

What are social contexts and why do they matter? ›

Social contexts can be understood as the relationships and networks of support that people experience, the interconnections within communities, and the involvement of people and communities in decisions that affect their lives.


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