Albertans’ feedback is informing ongoing curriculum renewal, with adjusted implementation timelines, changes to the design of the Social Studies curriculum and more opportunities for engagement in the new year.
Alberta’s government has been listening to all input from Albertans on the draft kindergarten to Grade 6 (K-6) curriculum and is taking significant steps to address feedback from parents, teachers and subject matter experts.
“Our government committed to a transparent and open review process for curriculum and we are keeping that promise. We have listened to the valuable insights provided by parents, education stakeholders, teachers and Albertans and are making significant content and implementation changes to reflect this. The steps we are taking now will ensure our students are learning from an updated curriculum that prepares them for the future.”
Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education
The COVID-19 pandemic has added unique pressures on students, their families and teachers. Recognizing this, Alberta’s government is making changes to curriculum implementation timelines.
New curriculum in three subjects – English Language Arts and Literature, Mathematics, and Physical Education and Wellness – will be implemented in September 2022. To help set the course for successful implementation, Alberta Education will seek advice from an advisory group of education and curriculum implementation experts early in 2022. The group will also provide recommendations on implementation strategies for the remaining K-6 subjects.
“The pandemic has had many impacts on students, including learning disruptions, particularly in the early years where building strong foundational reading, writing and numeracy skills are critical. Providing strengthened English and Mathematics curriculums for the upcoming school year will further help young students catch up.”
Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education
“The Alberta School Boards Association is appreciative that the government has listened to stakeholders, including our membership. ASBA has advocated for a delay and a phased approach to curriculum implementation and recognizes that government responded with some changes announced today. ASBA looks forward to working with government and our membership on the implementation plan and sharing the feedback of our members as they continue to represent their communities.”
Marilyn Dennis, president, Alberta School Boards Association
“The board of directors for the College of Alberta School Superintendents has appreciated the opportunity for our membership to participate in the engagement process on the draft curriculum. We are pleased to see that feedback provided by CASS to date is reflected in the changes announced by Minister LaGrange today. CASS looks forward to continuing to work with government on the curriculum refinement and implementation process and will provide our expertise as requested on the Implementation Advisory Panel. We share the government’s focus of providing a strong updated curriculum for students and will work to ensure it can be successfully implemented in classrooms in the future.”
Wilco Tymensen, president, College of Alberta School Superintendents
“The Alberta government is showing how they are listening to education partner feedback as we continue to move forward with curriculum. The Fort Vermilion School Division is immersed in projects with the Alberta Research Network identifying areas of learning loss. The decision to move forward with ELA, Math, and Wellness is imperative. FVSD appreciates the government’s responsiveness throughout the curriculum pilot period in a pandemic.”
Mike McMann, superintendent, Fort Vermilion School Division
Social Studies curriculum design and content changes
A new draft design blueprint addresses substantive feedback received related to age and developmental appropriateness of the Social Studies curriculum and lays out a plan to make curriculum content changes. The blueprint and further engagement will inform a new draft that continues to ensure students learn historical content, build civic skills, explore First Nations, Métis and Inuit and Francophone perspectives and learn about different cultures and communities
In addition, this round of content changes in four subject areas will address the specific feedback that Albertans, as well as piloting school authorities, have provided to date. Changes have been made to English Language Arts and Literature, Physical Education and Wellness, Fine Arts (Music) and Science curriculums to add clarity, strengthen content as well as expand key topics such as positive body image, climate change and learning about dinosaurs.
“For nearly a decade, Junior Achievement has worked with the provincial government to increase access to financial literacy education and programming for young people across Alberta through curriculum inclusion. In today’s economy, financial literacy skills are critical for success. Financial literacy has a significant impact on long-term well-being, self-esteem and resilience. JA is pleased to see the provincial government recognize this need and respond to calls from parents, teachers and experts by incorporating financial literacy into the Physical Education and Wellness portion of Alberta's new K-6 curriculum. We look forward to supporting our partners in education in this area.”
Melissa From, president and CEO, Junior Achievement Southern Alberta
“Reading and writing are two of the most important skills children are required to master in their early school career. To achieve this, they need systematic and explicit instruction in foundational skills such as phonological awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension. The new ELAL curriculum includes all these elements and brings a scientific way of teaching reading and writing into every classroom. I am pleased that this will be introduced to students in September 2022.”
George Georgiou, professor, faculty of education - educational psychology, University of Alberta
While Alberta Education has made some content changes to these subjects, there are also areas that are not yet addressed, such as changes related to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit and Francophone perspectives in subject areas outside of Social Studies. The government is continuing to work with education partners and community stakeholders to gather feedback on these critical areas before changes will be made in the spring. Based on feedback, the draft Mathematics curriculum will also be updated this spring, prior to final provincial implementation in September 2022. All other subjects, including the draft French language curriculum, will also be updated.
In January and February there will be new engagement opportunities for Albertans to share their constructive, meaningful feedback on updated draft content, as well as the draft design blueprint for Social Studies. In addition, Albertans are invited to attend virtual information sessions on the updated curriculum and implementation plans, starting on Dec. 16.
Albertans can register for virtual information sessions and sign up to find out more about new engagements when details are available in the new year at alberta.ca/curriculum-have-your-say.
In spring 2022, Alberta’s government will carefully consider the feedback from all engagement opportunities and classroom piloting. This input will be used to finalize the Social Studies design blueprint, develop the corresponding draft Social Studies curriculum and further revise all subjects in the draft K-6 curriculum.
- Since September 2021, approximately 360 teachers have been piloting the draft K-6 curriculum with about 7,800 students across the province. School authorities and teachers will share valuable insights about their experience and the resources needed to support new curriculum.
- New engagement opportunities and virtual information sessions will be offered in English and French at various times to meet the diverse interests and needs of Albertans.
- Alberta Education has provided approximately $1 million in grants to support education partner groups in conducting a consistent and coordinated engagement process with their communities so their unique perspectives can be heard and reported back to Alberta Education.
- Feedback from all engagements and piloting will inform updates to Indigenous and Francophone perspectives in all draft K-6 subjects in the spring.
- Engagement feedback will also inform an updated Mathematics curriculum prior to implementation in September 2022.
- Four subjects in the draft K-6 curriculum have been updated for Albertans to provide feedback on:
- English Language Arts and Literature
- Physical Education and Wellness
- (Fine Arts) Music
- Recognizing that the adjustments being made to the draft K-6 content will affect later grades, the government will sequence on work on drafting curriculum for grades 7-10 accordingly.