Social studies

Highlights of the draft elementary social studies curriculum (March 2024).


In fall 2023, Alberta’s government announced a comprehensive and phased approach to engaging with Albertans and education partners on new draft social studies curriculum. Since then, Alberta Education has engaged with more than 900 education partners, teachers, multicultural organizations, Indigenous and francophone communities and other education specialists.

From September 18 to October 16, 2023, Albertans completed more than 12,800 online surveys to provide input on what they would like students to learn in new draft social studies curriculum. Education partner feedback and survey results were used to inform development of a draft K to 12 social studies subject overview and the draft K to 6 social studies curriculum.

From March 14 to April 2, 2024, Albertans completed more than 2,900 online feedback forms to provide input on key learnings in the new draft K to 12 social studies curriculum.

We considered feedback from all engagement activities to update the draft K to 6 social studies curriculum before releasing it on April 26, 2024, to help school authorities and teachers prepare for optional classroom piloting.

Learn more at How we got here.

Engagement timeline

  • Open

  • Results under review

  • Completed

Resources (updated April 2024)

Snapshot by grade

Social studies is the study of history, geography, economics, civics and citizenship, and government and politics. Students explore important questions, develop critical-thinking skills and become active citizens through research and evidence interpretation.

  • Kindergarten

    Children explore tradition, history, culture and language as they:

    • develop a sense of self in relation to their community and others
    • examine needs and wants, belonging and working together
    • understand rules, expectations and civic responsibility

    Content covered in kindergarten includes:

    • places in communities
    • culture and traditions
    • needs and wants
    • leaders in communities
    • civic responsibilities
  • Grade 1
    Grade 1

    Students explore traditions and cultures in their local community as they:

    • develop understanding of themselves and those around them to appreciate the ways in which people work together
    • understand roles and responsibilities in the community

    Content covered in Grade 1 includes:

    • key features of our physical world, including landmarks
    • First Nations, Métis, Inuit and francophone communities
    • goods and services, buying and selling
    • respecting diverse cultures
    • supporting cultural understanding and collaboration
    • Canada’s official symbols
  • Grade 2
    Grade 2

    Students develop an understanding of Canada and build an appreciation of the diversity of people and places as they:

    • explore Canada’s Indigenous communities
    • build an understanding of Canada’s political structure and decision-making process, and engage in democratic discussions

    Content covered in Grade 2 includes:

    • Canada’s physical regions, provinces and territories
    • leaders in Canada, including the prime minister, the premiers, the King, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders
    • traditions and heritages across Canada, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit
    • forming opinions and distinguishing facts from opinions
    • basic economic concepts of buying and selling and exchanging goods to meet needs and wants in communities
  • Grade 3
    Grade 3

    Students explore the people and places in Alberta and Western Canada as they:

    • develop understanding of the contributions and perspectives of diverse Albertans over time
    • learn stories of First Nations, Métis, Inuit, francophone and immigrant communities
    • recognize Alberta’s unique geographic features, official symbols and government structure

    Content covered in Grade 3 includes:

    • physical geography of Alberta
    • First Nations and Métis contributions to Alberta
    • francophone settlement and contributions to Alberta
    • discrimination and racism in Alberta
    • provincial and municipal governments
    • Alberta’s official symbols
    • Alberta’s natural resources
    • voting, charitable giving and volunteerism
  • Grade 4
    Grade 4

    Students explore the arrival of French explorers and traders and investigate the transition from French to British rule and events leading up to Confederation as they:

    • develop an understanding of the establishment of Canada
    • explore how the French and British interacted with First Nations

    Content covered in Grade 4 includes:

    • Jacques Cartier and early settlements
    • Samuel de Champlain and the establishment of Quebec City and New France
    • the Treaty of Paris and the transfer of Canada to the British
    • United Empire Loyalists
    • the Rebellions of 1837, responsible government and Confederation
    • the fur trade and Canada’s natural resources
    • citizenship rights and responsibilities
  • Grade 5
    Grade 5

    Students explore the enduring legacies of civilizations as they:

    • develop an appreciation of ancient societies and their contributions to contemporary life
    • investigate the systems and structures of civilizations and empires
    • examine major innovations and discoveries of the past and their influence on modern society

    Content covered in Grade 5 includes:

    • ancient civilizations (China, Greece, India, Rome, Persia and Arab)
    • trade networks, farming, agriculture and the importance of rivers
    • authoritarian governments, social structures
    • ways ancient civilizations and empires influence society today
    • the origins of taxes and their use by government
  • Grade 6
    Grade 6

    Students explore the principles of democracy, including history and development, as they:

    • explore the history, principles and operation of democracy
    • investigate the historical evolution of democracy
    • examine the importance of active and responsible civic participation as the foundation of a democratic society
    • compare select democratic decision-making models used today

    Content covered in Grade 6 includes:

    • Athenian democracy, Roman Republic and Haudenosaunee Confederacy
    • creation of laws, rights and freedoms 
    • discrimination and racism in Canada
    • provincial government
    • formal and informal civic participation
    • direct democracy vs. representative democracy
    • economic freedom and personal choice
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