By Justin Seward
Southern Alberta Newspapers
The Alberta Government provided an update of the K-6 curriculum draft on March 29.
The renewed focus will be on literacy, numeracy, citizenship and practical skills, which will provide the students a strong base of essential knowledge of future learning.
“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. Parents and teachers have waited a long time for this, and I’m pleased to say we’ve delivered,” said Adriana LaGrange, minister of Education.
Literacy will include the use of phonics and other proven best practices. Students will be taught master reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Numeracy will allow students to think fluently about numbers and equations, students will gain essential knowledge for every day tasks and foundations for a more complex learning in the future.
Through citizenship, students will develop an appreciation for how Canadians built one of the most generous, prosperous and diverse societies in the world.
Students will also learn new essential skills such as household budgeting, digital literacy, business planning and healthy relationships and the importance of consent through practical skills.
“I’m going to speak on the area of consent, something I’ve been advocating for the last 25 years,” said Sheldon Kennedy, co-founder of Respect group.
“I think it’s absolutely an essential skill for not only kids from Kindergarten to Grade 6, but teachers and those adults that are with our kids and parents. I think what we know today is knowledge is safety and age-appropriate education in this space is absolutely critical. The ability to say no, the ability to say yes, the ability to understand boundaries. I think in my opinion, it’s not only going to keep kids safe —but it’s going to save lives.”
For example, Kennedy says the majority of cases at the Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary, 98 per cent of those kids know they’re abused and a majority of kids are under 12 years old.
There has been $6 million set aside in the current fiscal year to support the current K-6 curriculum in select school supporting validation.
Those funds will help develop critical resources and professional development to support teachers during the validation phase.
The next steps include class validation, where school authorities are invited to test the draft curriculum.
That process is expected to start in September for schools across the province, if they choose to participate.
The feedback from Albertans and the classroom validation will be incorporated into the draft K-6 curriculum before it is implemented across the province.
Students in K-6 are expected to be learning from the new curriculum during the 2022-23 school year. The draft for Grades 7-10 is expected to be ready by September 2022 and to be implemented in the 2023-2024 school year.
The Grades 11 and 12 curriculum draft is to be validated in September 2023, with implementation the following year.
Albertans can provide feedback of the current curriculum until spring 2022 at alberta.ca/curriculum.