A new draft curriculum for kindergarten to Grade 6 was unveiled on Monday, March 29 by Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange which aims to give students a strong foundation for future education.
The curriculum, which has been in development for the last 19 months in consultation with education experts and First Nations, Inuit, and Metis leaders, will focus on teaching students essential knowledge and skills in literacy, numeracy, citizenship, and practical skills.
“The new curriculum delivers on our commitment to Albertans to refocus learning on essential knowledge and skills in order to give our children the best possible chance at success,” Minister LaGrange said during the press conference. “Parents and teachers have waited a long time for this, and I am pleased to say we’ve delivered. Another promise made, promise kept.”
Since 2006, Alberta’s Grade 4 students have declined in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, which measures student learning in reading, dropping from first of 45 countries in 2006 to 17 of 50 countries by 2016.
Likewise, these downward trends are also seen in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science. Grade 4 students were ranked 16 of 65 countries in math and fourth of 65 countries in science in 2007, dropping to 39 of 64 countries in mathematics, and 16 of 64 countries in science by 2019.
Students will focus on the basics of the key learning themes while also being introduced to more difficult topics, such as residential schools and the treatment of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples.
“Our children need to know our past to understand our present, and the new curriculum will teach them that,” Minister LaGrange said during the press conference.
The new curriculum will also tackle financial literacy and the difficult subjects of consent and setting personal boundaries.
Some schools will voluntarily begin piloting the new curriculum in September 2021, and Minister LaGrange stated she hopes it “will become the final curriculum” for the 2022-2023 school year; the draft curriculum for Grades 7 to 10 students is anticipated to be ready by September 2022, while the draft curriculum for Grades 11 and 12 is targeted for September 2023.
Minister LaGrange encourages parents, teachers, and anyone interested in the future of education within Alberta to provide feedback on the draft curriculum. Feedback will be open until Spring 2022 and will help refine the final draft before implementation in the 2022-2023 school year.
The draft curriculum and the accompanying survey can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/curriculum-have-your-say.aspx.