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Overview

We’re seeking feedback on Alberta’s draft kindergarten to grade 6 (K-6) curriculum.

The curriculum provides clear and specific details about the knowledge and foundational skills that all elementary students must learn in each subject and grade.

We're committed to a transparent curriculum development and review process.

Your feedback will help refine the draft K-6 curriculum before it is implemented in classrooms across the province in September 2022.

Engagement timeline

  • Open

    Feedback open until Spring 2022

  • Completed

Resources

Get involved

It’s your turn to provide input. Before taking the survey, learn more about the new K-6 curriculum:

Online survey

Share your feedback on the K-6 curriculum by spring 2022.

Take the survey

Parent and public sessions

Albertans are invited to attend a virtual session hosted by Alberta Education staff.

Register now:

Upcoming sessions

There will be additional virtual sessions in English every month and in French every second month. Dates will be posted as available.

For fall 2021, in-person sessions are being planned for parents and the public to provide feedback on the draft K-6 curriculum.

These sessions will be held in:

  • Fort McMurray
  • Grande Prairie
  • Edmonton
  • Red Deer
  • Calgary
  • Lethbridge
  • Medicine Hat

Check back for more details and registration information during the summer.

Partner engagement

Work continues on gathering input on the draft K-6 curriculum from school authorities and a broad range of education partners. This includes providing up to $1 million in grants to support 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 by January 2022.

Additional details will be posted once finalized.

Progress to date

  • In May 2021, Albertans attended several virtual sessions hosted by Alberta Education staff. Review the frequently raised topics below.

Outcomes

You have until spring 2022 to take the survey. During the 2021-22 school year, classrooms around the province will voluntarily pilot the draft K-6 curriculum and provide input.

We will incorporate feedback from the survey, parent and public sessions, education partners and the classroom pilot into the draft K-6 curriculum before it is implemented provincewide.

Frequently raised topics

Curriculum development

  • How the draft K-6 curriculum is different from the current curriculum
    • Alberta’s updated kindergarten to grade 6 curriculum follows the evidence from jurisdictions from around the world that have surged ahead in world rankings.
    • The new draft curriculum builds on the previous draft in using a common structure for all subjects but now it incorporates the latest evidence from cognitive science about what works best for children.
    • The new draft provides students with the same knowledge-rich content and the same foundation of shared factual knowledge. Evidence shows that children arrive at school with different amounts of background knowledge. A knowledge-rich curriculum helps to raise all children to the same level of excellence.
    • The curriculum has an increased focus on the development of citizenship, financial literacy, digital training, public speaking, critical thinking and respect for different views.
    • Some examples of differences by subject include:
      • In math, age appropriate introductions to fractions and memorization of times tables are included to give all students the foundations for understanding concepts and procedures, following the examples of high performing jurisdictions like Japan and Singapore.
      • The draft K-6 language arts and literature curriculum incorporates knowledge-rich content, such as phonics, for reading instruction that align with the growing global consensus about what works best to help students learn to read. Where this approach has already been introduced in Alberta, the number of struggling readers has dropped from 35% to 1.4%
      • The Francophone language curriculum includes an authentic French early reading program developed by the leading Canadian French expert in the science of reading. It is not a translation of the English program. This authentic original Francophone content leads Canada by aligning with the latest original French research in literacy science.
      • Alberta’s 7 to 12 current social studies curriculum got a C- grade (the worst in Canada), from Historica Canada. In social studies, a well-sequenced chronological history-based approach will begin in kindergarten to build the foundations of knowledge and critical thinking for later grades.
  • Why the previous draft curriculum was not used
    • The current draft incorporates what was best from the previous curriculum work. It does not start from scratch, but continues with a common framework for all subjects, leads with a big idea, and uses an outcome-based curriculum model that includes essential questions, understanding and skills.
    • What was missing from the previous draft were specific facts and knowledge.
    • The new draft curriculum follows the best evidence of what works and learns from the lessons of jurisdictions that are ahead of Alberta is student outcomes or have seen significant improvements in student achievement, such as Singapore’s knowledge-rich and sequenced program.
    • The previous draft curriculum followed the examples of places that have de-emphasized knowledge-rich content and, as a result, saw significant regressions in student outcomes.
    • Other jurisdictions that went down this path, such as Sweden and France, have since corrected their mistakes and returned to a curriculum more aligned with the new Alberta curriculum.
  • Why these changes are important
    • Unfortunately, in recent years Alberta’s international education rankings, which once were among the very best in the world, have declined. We need to get Alberta back on the right track and restore excellence.
    • Following advice from the Curriculum Advisory Panel and evidence from leading jurisdictions around the world, the new curriculum includes clear direction for teachers on the sequenced knowledge content that students are expected to learn.
    • This will ensure that all students receive consistent high quality shared knowledge necessary for skills like critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.
    • Parents have been clear that they expect Alberta’s education system to provide their children with a strong foundation of essential knowledge and skills. That is what the new curriculum delivers.
  • How the draft K-6 curriculum is different from the draft K-4 curriculum from 2018
    • The new draft K-6 curriculum provides clear, specific details about the knowledge and foundational skills that all elementary students must learn in each subject and grade.
    • It gives clear direction to teachers that is as free as possible from vague or technical language so that parents and the general public can understand the details of what children are learning.
    • This knowledge is common across all schools and is sequenced to progress from grade to grade.
    • The new draft curriculum will equip students with foundational reading, writing and math skills, while introducing in-depth learning on Alberta, Canadian and world history.
    • We are preparing students for success by focusing on literacy, numeracy, knowledge, practical skills and diverse content that reflects our multicultural society.
    • The new draft curriculum will also have an increased focus on the development of citizenship, financial literacy, digital training, public speaking, critical thinking and respect for different views.
  • Length of time since the K-6 curriculum has been updated
    • This is the first update for some K-6 subjects in decades.
    • For example, fine arts has not been updated for more than 35 years.
    • It has been more than 20 years since science, French immersion and French first language curriculum was renewed.
    • Social studies is about 15 years out of date.
  • New curriculum process and next steps
    • Alberta Education is currently in a year-long review process where parents, education partners and Albertans will be able to provide their input on the draft curriculum.
    • In fall 2021, school divisions who have opted in will begin piloting the draft curriculum.
    • Feedback gathered over the next year will be critical as we work to refine the curriculum before final implementation in 2022.

Math

  • Changes to the math curriculum
    • The draft K-6 curriculum sets clear expectations for students to:
      • begin learning geometry and algebra concepts as early as kindergarten as other leading jurisdictions do
      • remember and recall numbers, and use standard procedures to add, subtract, multiply and divide
      • learn money concepts in every grade
      • fractions are now taught earlier, following the example of the best performing jurisdictions
      • gaps are filled, sequencing is improved, and foundational concepts and procedures build a better foundation for mathematical thinking and math they will need in higher grades
    • The new Ministerial Order on Student Learning introduced in 2020 no longer requires teachers to use any particular teaching method, like so-called “discovery” math. Teachers are now free to do what works best for their students and their classrooms.
  • Importance of students memorizing math facts like the multiplication table
    • Quick recall of math facts is essential as math gets more complicated, otherwise working memory gets overloaded and success is undermined.
    • The highest performing jurisdictions in the world include both factual recall and conceptual and procedural understanding. Cognitive science and real-world results show this to be best practice.
    • Facts are the basis of understanding. Factual knowledge is important for reading, critical thinking, and problem solving.
    • In human conversation and debate, knowledge of specific and factual content in long-term memory is necessary for understanding, literacy and higher-order thinking.
    • Evidence shows that knowledge and skills go hand in hand. Students need to have shared foundational knowledge about content in order to develop 21st century skills.

Science

  • Changes to the science curriculum
    • The new K-6 curriculum sets clear expectations for students to:
      • build foundational knowledge across the grades to deepen their understanding of scientific ideas, methods and thinking
      • learn problem-solving that includes coding and algorithms
      • learn scientific methods including investigation, evidence, explanation, understanding and representation in a separate unit and across all grades
      • understand perspectives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people as well as those of other diverse cultures
  • Where climate change will be taught in the new curriculum
    • Climate change will be taught throughout the draft K-6 science curriculum.
      • Foundational knowledge related to environmental respect, responsibility, conservation and responsible waste management is developed in early grades to support understanding of climate change in later grades.
      • In K-4, foundational scientific knowledge, understanding and skills are formed that help students begin to grasp the complexities of climate science.
      • In grade 3, natural and human-causes of the Earth warming up are explicitly introduced in relation to the melting of glaciers in Alberta.
      • In grade 5, students will consider climate change perspectives in relation to renewable and non-renewable resources.
      • In grade 5, students will study climate in depth and in grade 6, climate change will be studied in depth.
      • In grades 5 and 6, intergenerational observations of climate and climate change are included.
      • In grade 6, students will examine ways to broaden understanding of climate change through sharing and collaborative work amongst First Nations, Métis and Inuit, and northern communities, scientists and governments.

Social studies

  • Changes to the social studies curriculum
    • The new K-6 curriculum sets clear expectations for students to:
      • learn history, geography, civics and economics at every grade level
      • to learn the history of Alberta, Canada, and be introduced to major world civilizations from Europe to China
      • learn about citizenship and the ways governments and communities work
      • develop critical thinking and deeper knowledge of cultures, institutions and local, national and world history by learning in chronological order
      • develop financial literacy in every grade by learning to handle their own money and how it affects the economy
      • learn the fundamentals of economics and entrepreneurship across all grades
      • learn about Indigenous histories, contributions and perspectives in all grades, including Treaty rights
      • learn about the many linguistic, cultural and ethnic groups in Canada across all grades
      • For the first time, students will learn specific information on Treaties, Reconciliation and the tragic legacy of residential schools.
  • Black history and racism in the new curriculum
    • This is the first curriculum in Alberta history to specifically teach the history of Black Albertans.
    • For the first time, students will learn about the waves of Black settlement in Alberta and many of the important contributions of Black Albertans to our history. For example:
      • They will learn about the Black settlers who founded Albertan communities like Amber Valley, Wildwood, Breton and Campsie.
      • They will learn about famous rancher John Ware and black pioneers like Jefferson Davis Edwards and Agnes Leffler Perry.
    • In their fine arts classes, students will learn Anansi stories from West African Folklore and about African influence in popular American music.
    • They will learn about the importance of the Harlem Renaissance and the evolution of African American literature, poetry and music.
    • Students will also learn about the legacy of racism and anti-black racism. They will examine how slavery, the fight for abolition, emancipation of enslaved people, and Canadian immigration policy helped shape Canada and the United States.
    • Students will learn about the arrival of the Ku Klux Klan in Alberta, racial segregation and the terrible history of Jim Crow Laws.
      • For example, the curriculum requires students to learn the historical facts of how the KKK held unscientific doctrines of racial superiority, was imported from the United States and gained a significant following in Alberta where it terrorized people of colour, Jewish people, and Catholics, and was eventually marginalized and disbanded.
  • Indigenous content in the new curriculum
    • The new social studies curriculum places far more emphasis on Indigenous peoples than any previous Alberta curriculum, and with more integrated specific knowledge content than any other province.
    • Alberta’s and Canada’s histories are taught with sensitivity to the perspective of Indigenous people, and Indigenous viewpoints are presented throughout the curriculum.
    • First Nations, Métis and Inuit content begins in social studies in grade 1, with a thorough immersion in the origins of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and societies, focusing on creation stories and cultural and linguistic traditions.
    • Ancestral land rights and treaties are covered in more detail than ever before, and so are the origins of the Métis people. The Métis culture, the Buffalo Hunt and Métis resistance are all in the new curriculum in well-integrated chronological accounts.
    • First Nations, Métis, and Inuit content is integrated in appropriate ways throughout every subject in the curriculum, including the tragic history of the Residential Schools, at an age-appropriate level, and the importance of Reconciliation.
  • Learning about residential schools in the new curriculum
    • From K-4, students will learn age-appropriate Indigenous stories, perspectives and histories that will overcome ignorance with knowledge, break down prejudices and promote respectful Reconciliation.
    • In grade 5 social studies, students will learn the origins of residential schools and the terrible impact on Indigenous students. Findings from the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report are also explored. For example:
      • Students will study accounts from residential school survivors such as Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, one of the primary authors of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
    • For the first time in Alberta, all students will learn factual information about Indigenous peoples in proper sequence. This includes age-appropriate Indigenous content related to creation stories, geographic place names, as well as treaties, agreements, residential schools and their legacy.
      • For example, in grade 1 social studies, students learn about First Nations and Inuit histories and culture prior to European contact and settlement starting.
      • In grade 3, they will look at Indigenous understandings of land ownership and rights.
      • In grade 4, they will study treaties and reserve systems as well as the history of the Métis people.
      • Students will learn about First Nations, Métis and Inuit histories, contributions and perspectives across all subjects and grades in specific, meaningful and well-integrated ways.
  • Claims that the new curriculum will force religion into the classroom
    • These claims are misinformation.
    • As part of the grade 2 and grade 6 social studies curriculum students will study Alberta and Canada’s ethnic and religious diversity. Students will learn about the major world religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
    • By learning about what other people believe and what their religions mean in their daily life, we can learn how to live in a multicultural society and break down prejudice.
    • Religion has been one of the most important forces in history and art in every part of the world and continues to shape politics around the world. Students learn about the major world religions so they can understand their neighbours and have a deeper understanding of our world, past and present.
    • Much intolerance and bigotry is rooted in ignorance and one way to prevent that is to educate children on the diversity of beliefs in our society.
    • Parents who do not want their children to learn about the facts of other religions can withdraw their children from those lessons.
  • Why students should learn detailed world history content in grade 2 social studies
    • After years of declining student academic performance in Alberta, the new curriculum will renew the importance of teaching foundational knowledge across all subjects to better prepare students for success.
    • In grade 2 students will explore ancient civilizations and the ideas that have endured over time, contributing to our heritage and traditions. Teachers will use their professional judgment and available resources to teach this content in age appropriate ways.
    • For example, in grade 2 there is a general introduction to cultural ideas, inventions and legacies from around the world. Children’s stories, fables, legends and folk tales are embedded in the History and Culture components, drawing upon Indigenous, western and eastern civilizations.
    • A curriculum is not accomplished in any single grade, but is a cumulative and sequential process with the goal that children graduate with a complete understanding of relevant topics. This begins early and builds in subsequent grades.
    • Research shows that children are able to appreciate stories about different times and places and that learning about historical events and other cultures at an early age can spark wonder and curiosity that will feed future learning in and out of the classroom.
    • By contrast, the approach to social studies in the current curriculum and previous government’s draft curriculum, which focused solely on the child’s own environment and built slowly outward from there, is an American approach that is 90 years out of date. Research shows it does not stimulate children’s imaginations and undermines critical thinking.
  • Why children should learn about the Silk Road and Genghis Khan as well as about Canada
    • We believe they can do both.
    • The curriculum covers both Alberta and Canadian history and lays a foundation of basic knowledge of world history, which will be built on in future grades.
    • With respect to the Silk Road and Genghis Khan, the exchange of cultures, religions and goods between Europe and India and China laid the foundation for what will likely be the most populous and geopolitically important region for at least the next generation, for example, China’s multi-trillion-dollar belt and road initiative.
    • It is important that the next generation understand more than just European and Canadian history (which is, of course, emphasized in the curriculum) if they are to be equipped for life and work in the mid-21st century.
    • Other leading jurisdictions in the world study their own country as well as world history in similar age ranges. For example, high performing schools in China teach detailed knowledge in elementary schools about the British Empire, the American Civil war, the Glorious Revolution, and so forth.
  • Why there is American content in the new curriculum
    • Although there is some key American history in the curriculum, it is taught as a comparison and contrast with the Canadian experience.
    • Studying the Canadian system is vitally important, which is why it is covered in detail in multiple grades. But to really understand and appreciate something, it is helpful to compare it to an alternative.
    • The comparison with the US experience over the same time periods deepens understanding of what makes Canada unique, while also imparting useful knowledge of another country that, for better and worse, affects our world as by far our biggest trading partner, cultural influence, and with whom we share 2 borders totally almost 9,000 kms.
    • Canadian and American history collide and intersect constantly, so learning only half of the story would deprive students of a complete understanding of events like the following, to name just a few elements of our shared early history:
      • the United Empire Loyalists
      • the War of 1812
      • the Underground Railroad
      • Confederation (which was spurred by the experience of the US Civil War)
      • Chief Crowfoot’s role in protecting the Sioux from American expansion
      • Black history like the story of John Ware and the Amber Valley settlement
      • the migration of 600,000 Americans to Alberta at the turn of the 20th Century
      • the experience of racism in the form of the KKK in Alberta in the early 20th Century

Fine arts – Music, dance, drama and art

  • How the new curriculum will ensure children are exposed to art from diverse cultures and perspectives
    • Students will connect with world cultures and experience diversity through the 4 fine arts courses.
    • Across all grades, students will:
      • consider how fine arts relate to local communities and different cultures around the world
      • experience the rich fine arts history of Alberta and Canada to understand and appreciate Francophone, First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures
  • Changes to the fine arts curriculum
    • The K-6 curriculum sets clear expectations for students to:
      • learn knowledge, skills and artistic processes in each course that challenge students and develop an appreciation for the arts
      • build cultural literacy and appreciation with an entire section of a well-sequenced world-inheritances of art throughout history that matches content themes in language and social studies
      • explore various modes and media to discover practical skills to engage with the world
      • connect with world cultures and experience diversity through the 4 fine arts courses
      • analyze fine art forms and disciplines from a historical perspective to develop knowledge that helps them learn in other subjects such as social studies

Language Arts and French

  • Changes in French immersion
    • The Francophone language curriculum includes an authentic French early reading program developed by the leading Canadian French expert in the science of reading. It is not a translation of the English program. This authentic original Francophone content leads Canada by aligning with the latest original French research in literacy science.
    • The new K-6 curriculum sets clear expectations for students to:
      • develop listening and speaking skills in a variety of situations
      • learn vocabulary and develop knowledge and skills to form and use words in speaking and writing, including explicit grammar knowledge and skills
      • develop reading and writing skills starting in kindergarten
      • learn phonics from kindergarten to grade 3, then apply them to reading and writing in later grades
      • learn characteristics, structures and genres of French language information and ideas in all grades
      • study great works of literature from many world cultures
      • understand Francophone cultures, perspectives and diversity throughout the curriculum in every grade
  • Changes in French first language and literature
    • The Francophone language curriculum includes an authentic French early reading program developed by the leading Canadian French expert in the science of reading. It is not a translation of the English program. This authentic original Francophone content leads Canada by aligning with the latest original French research in literacy science.
    • The K-6 curriculum sets clear expectations for students to:
      • includes an authentic French early reading program developed by the leading Canadian French expert in the science of reading, not a translation of the English program
      • learn the characteristics, structures and genres of French language information and ideas in all grades
      • develop listening and speaking skills in a variety of situations
      • begin to develop reading and writing skills in kindergarten
      • from kindergarten to grade 2, identify and adjust sounds when speaking and apply these skills to reading and writing in later grades
      • learn phonics from kindergarten to grade 3, then apply them to reading and writing in later grades
      • study great works of literature from many world cultures
      • understand Francophone cultures, perspectives and diversity throughout the curriculum in every grade
  • Changes in language arts and literature
    • The draft K-6 language arts and literature curriculum incorporates knowledge-rich content, such as phonics, for reading instruction that align with the growing global consensus about what works best to help students learn to read. Where this approach has already been introduced in Alberta, the number of struggling readers has dropped from 35% to 1.4%.
    • The K-6 curriculum sets clear expectations for students to:
      • learn to identify and manipulate sounds in spoken language from kindergarten to grade 2 and apply it to reading and writing in later grades
      • study great works of literature from many world cultures, using original texts
      • develop oral language skills by listening, speaking, delivering speeches, presenting and collaborating
      • develop accurate, automatic and expressive reading skills in all grades
      • build knowledge of vocabulary and word parts (morphology) from grade to grade
      • develop writing skills in an organized, orderly way to effectively express ideas and information in a variety of forms
      • learn grammar, spelling and punctuation across all grades

Physical education and wellness

  • Changes in physical education and wellness
    • In the draft K-6 curriculum, there is one program that includes content from both health and life skills, and physical education.
      • Currently, there are 2 separate programs (K-9 Health and Life Skills, and K-12 physical education)
    • The new K-6 curriculum sets clear expectations for students to:
      • learn about financial well-being
      • develop social and emotional learning skills that support mental well-being
      • learn about consent, which will be taught as an essential part of the health and wellness curriculum
    • The health curriculum was the result of collaboration with experts, faculty, teachers and education department professionals.
    • Regardless of the particular options that students may have in their own homes, we want them to have the very best and up to date information on health and wellbeing, including the science of nutrition and healthy eating choices.
  • How children will learn about consent in the curriculum
    • Consent related to personal boundaries is introduced in grade 1.
    • In K-6 draft curriculum, consent is addressed through a broader understanding of respecting self and others.
    • Consent is about asking permission before entering someone’s personal space, giving permission or agreeing for something to happen and clearly communicating refusal and permission.
    • In grade 6, students will learn more explicitly that sexual activity should never be forced or make individuals feel uncomfortable, and that sexual activity without consent is sexual assault and is never okay.
    • Learning about consent with age-appropriate content supports personal safety, responsible decision making, respecting and caring for self and others through healthy relationships.

General content

  • Concepts will be enriched with a strong focus on essential knowledge and facts
    • The new curriculum will emphasize the essential knowledge and outcomes students need to succeed in school and throughout life.
    • Each subject area and learning outcome will continue to include concepts, but they will be enriched with specific knowledge and facts about the world in the relevant subject.
    • There will be a focus on evidence and fact-based content and materials, with literacy and numeracy woven throughout all subjects and grades.
    • Students will have the foundations and skills to think critically and solve problems in a variety of work and life situations, but the ability to think critically is most effective when it is connected to specific shared facts and knowledge.
    • The research shows that when students know more facts about a subject they are able to apply skills and concepts better and have a deeper comprehension of the subject. That specific knowledge and skills go hand in hand, complementing each other, is reinforced throughout the design of the new curriculum.
  • The new curriculum will have more emphasis on diverse cultures, perspectives and histories
    • There is more diverse and knowledge rich content about different cultures across time and place than in any previous Alberta curriculum, or for that matter in any other Canadian curriculum. This is taught through factual knowledge about different world civilizations, the major world religions, an age-appropriate introduction to the foundational ideas of our modern world, and quality texts from different thought traditions from Ancient Greece and classical China to local First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures, European and African history and literature.
    • Alberta’s students will see themselves, their families and their communities in the curriculum.
    • This is a balanced curriculum that contains many perspectives, including for the first time those of Alberta’s Black, Sikh and Chinese cultures as well as Western and Eastern Europe. Profiles of prominent Albertans from these communities and their stories will be featured throughout the curriculum.
    • This is the first curriculum to emphasize the strength of diversity and require all Alberta students to learn about the Treaties and Black Alberta history. For example,
      • Indigenous content begins in social studies in grade 1, with a thorough immersion in the origins of Indigenous peoples and societies, focusing on creation stories and cultural and linguistic traditions. When treaties are explicitly taught, students will already have an understanding of Indigenous perspectives and histories.
      • the Black settlement community of Amber Valley will feature prominently in grade 4 social studies, as well as the stories of Black rancher John Ware and pioneer Agnes Leffler Perry.
  • The new curriculum content will be developmentally appropriate
    • Age and development levels are referenced against other high performing jurisdictions and available research as content is drafted for each subject and grade.
    • The teachers and experts in the curriculum working group provided input on the developmental appropriateness of content based on their expertise and classroom experience.
    • The content load and essential-knowledge content has been designed to be in line with the jurisdictions around the world that currently outperform Alberta in student performance. The approach taken with all subjects aligns with the best available evidence of what works in the classroom. This is well-established by leading researchers in cognitive science and education. The 2020 Guiding Framework, on which the curriculum is based and Albertans can read it online.
    • Feedback from classroom piloting will provide valuable insights on the developmental appropriateness of curriculum.
  • Striking the right balance with the amount of information and the level at which it is taught
    • Parents have been clear that they expect Alberta’s school system to provide their children with a strong foundation of essential knowledge and skills. We agree and we believe the draft curriculum challenges students, but does so appropriately and to their benefit.
    • The draft K-6 curriculum equips students with foundational reading, writing, and math knowledge and skills, which parents have told us are key to ensuring their children's future success.
    • While the curriculum focuses on literacy, numeracy, citizenship and practical skills, it also emphasizes for the first time financial literacy, social and emotional learning skills that support mental well-being, and the importance of consent and respect in all relationships.
    • The draft K-6 curriculum provides clear details about the knowledge and foundational skills that all elementary students must learn in each subject and grade, in a format that both parents and teachers can read and understand.
    • We believe that all Alberta students deserve access to the best curriculum possible. For this reason, the content load and essential-knowledge content has been designed to be in line with the jurisdictions around the world that currently outperform Alberta in student performance.
    • We believe we have struck a reasonable balance in the amount of information and the level at which it is taught, but feedback from piloting in actual classrooms will help determine the final content load in each grade and subject.
  • Claims that the new curriculum resembles or is based on American curriculums
    • These claims are misinformation. The new curriculum does not resemble American curriculum and is not based on it.
    • Most states in the United States currently follow a curriculum called “Common Core”, which is a standards-based sequence that is not knowledge-specific. As a result, the US’s middling education ranking is declining.
    • In fact, the American Common Core curriculum more closely resembles the previous government’s attempt to move away from a knowledge- and fact-based curriculum.
    • By contrast, the draft curriculum is based on lessons learned from the best international practices from jurisdictions that have seen significant improvements in student performance and follows the best evidence, which is for a knowledge-rich curriculum.
  • Claims that the American Declaration of Independence in the new curriculum and the Canadian Charter isn't
    • That is misinformation.
    • The Canadian Charter is studied in grade 5 in context of the Canadian constitutional framework.
    • The Charter is presented, in context, as an addition to our constitutional framework, identified as the British North America Act (1867) (now known as the Constitution Act, 1867) and the Constitution Act, 1982, of which the Charter was a central part.
    • Students will be taught about it in the context of a constitutional tradition going back to the Magna Carta and extending through the present day.
    • The Charter will be reinforced again in grade 6 (Civics), which now focuses on comparative aspects of Canadian and American society, encompassing history, civics, geography and economic relations. It follows grade 5 which is focused on Canada so students have a basis for comparison.
  • Concerns that aspects of the curriculum appear to have been plagiarized
    • We appreciate the feedback on these draft documents. We have identified these passages, which will be amended before the curriculum is introduced into classrooms.
    • It is not typical for curriculum documents to list citations and source materials, as this would be done in the resource development phase.
    • Some feedback has also identified places where the curriculum could be better worded, corrected or clarified before it is introduced. We encourage all Albertans to read the curriculum at Draft K-6 curriculum and to provide further suggestions.

Drafting and piloting K-6 curriculum

  • How teachers were involved in developing the draft K-6 curriculum
    • Alberta Education brought together more than 100 teachers in a K-6 Curriculum Working Group to review the draft curriculum and provide feedback based on their expertise and experience working with students in classrooms.
    • The group had a balanced mix of teachers from public, separate, francophone, charter, independent and First Nation schools to reflect the diversity of Alberta’s classrooms.
    • These teachers considered the developmental appropriateness of curriculum, the amount and the nature of the content in each grade and subject, and the learning progression students will experience.
    • The consultation with these teachers resulted in significant shifts in all subjects, particularly in social studies.
  • The draft K-6 curriculum does not require teachers to do things differently
    • The new draft curriculum does not prescribe a teaching method.
    • We trust teachers to use their professional judgment and experience to decide how the curriculum is taught in the specific context of their classes.
    • The new draft curriculum provides clear, specific details about the knowledge and foundational skills that all elementary students must learn. This will help teachers understand what students are expected to know, understand and do in each subject and grade, but it will be up to them to decide how best to teach it.
  • Concerns about validating the draft K-6 curriculum this fall amidst pandemic burnout
    • Through the pandemic, we have learned to be resourceful and work together in new ways.
    • Any change is difficult, but the new curriculum is the sort of change that will make things easier for teachers in the long run.
      • For example, under the current curriculum 35% of students are struggling to read in Alberta, with some children even further behind due to the pandemic. The new draft curriculum reading approach has been piloted in Alberta for many years and has dropped the percentage of struggling readers to 1.4%.
      • Piloting this curriculum is worth the effort for those students. Students who read better do better in all subjects.
      • Knowledge-rich content across the other subjects is also shown to be essential for literacy. Once children have learned to read and are reading to learn, literacy needs quality sequenced knowledge content.
    • School authorities can choose whether they want to participate in the pilot, and to what extent. For example, they can pilot one or more or all of the subjects.
    • During the pilot, the department will support teachers with resources, information and tools to work with the draft curriculum in their classrooms.
    • Piloting is one of many ways school divisions can provide feedback on the curriculum and help ensure the right amount and the age-appropriateness of the content in each subject for each grade.
  • How the classroom validation process works
    • During the pilot, the department will support teachers with information and tools to work with the draft curriculum in their classrooms.
    • School divisions will provide feedback about their experience with the curriculum.
    • The feedback will help refine the draft curriculum as necessary and identify resources to support new curriculum implementation across the province.