The idea that there is a common core of knowledge that all people in a society should possess in order to understand that society and each other was advocated in the 1987 book Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., PhD. These ideas resulted in a school reform movement and the founding of the Core Knowledge Foundation. Core Knowledge has been described in terms of the Four S’’s: shared knowledge, solid knowledge, sequenced knowledge, and specific knowledge. These Four S’s give our students a body of knowledge that all literate people need to possess in order to understand politics, scientific developments and debates, history and current events, and our fellow citizens. The Core Knowledge Sequence is presented in a sequential order ensuring that all children advance during each school year and in grade level with the necessary knowledge and skills in order to succeed at the next level. The children learn new knowledge by building on what they already know and the content in different subjects are integrated so that the material in each subject reinforces the others. Because Core Knowledge provides a clear outline of what our children are learning, we as parents understand what our children are learning and when they will learn it.
The content is described in greater detail in the What Your Kindergartner - Fifth Grader Needs to Know series by E.D. Hirsch. These books are also available in the TCKS library.