Table of contents

Overview

Social studies looks at people in relation to each other and the world. It draws from history, geography, civics, economics, and other areas of study.

Students develop gratitude for the sacrifices of those who came before us, beginning with the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, and a pride in the free, prosperous, peaceful, and welcoming society that they built and that students have the responsibility to carry forward.

Students learn about the events, people, developments, and ideas that have shaped Alberta, Canada, and the world. By studying connections between people, places, and environments, students develop understanding and appreciation for different viewpoints and experiences. They also consider how money, labour, businesses, and governments impact personal finances and the economy.

Some careers that have roots in social studies include law, politics, psychology, market research, community health, archaeology, and many others.

Engagement timeline

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Resources

Shifts in K-6 social studies

These are the main shifts in knowledge and skill requirements to the new K-6 social studies curriculum from the current curriculum.

  New curriculum Current curriculum
Disciplinary knowledge and skills Explicitly organized into knowledge-rich sections on history, geography, civics, financial literacy, and economics, telling the story of Alberta, Canada, and world history at age-appropriate levels. Parents will know what every child will be learning, and all children will have a common shared basis for critical thinking that builds from year to year. History, geography, civics, economics, and other social studies-related disciplines are not addressed in a consistent way across every grade.
Citizenship and civic literacy Students in every grade develop civic literacy by learning about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, the roots and roles of the institutions of our constitutional system, and alternative systems of government. Focus on civic literacy varies by grade.
Specific themes or topics Rich knowledge in chronological order develops critical thinking and deeper understanding of cultures, institutions, and local, national, and world history. Some grades have narrow themes or topics that can limit learning experiences.
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit perspectives Students learn about Indigenous histories, contributions, and perspectives in all grades that build understanding from year to year, including treaty rights and agreements, Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, and the history of residential schools. First Nations, Métis, and Inuit perspectives are not addressed consistently across grades.
Francophone perspectives Students learn about Alberta and Canada’s Francophone history, contributions, and perspectives in every grade that builds from grade to grade. Focus on Francophone perspectives varies from grade to grade.
Multiculturalism Students learn well-sequenced knowledge, understanding, and skills about many linguistic, cultural, and ethnic groups in Canada across all grades.

Starting in Grade 3, students will learn about Black history in a very comprehensive way focusing on prominent Black Albertans, settlements, and contributions.
References to diversity and inclusion vary from grade to grade.

Only one reference to Black history (in Grade 5).
Belief systems Students will learn about belief systems in all grades emphasizing understanding and respect. References to belief systems vary from grade to grade.
Financial literacy Students will develop financial literacy in every grade by learning to handle their own money and understand how it affects the economy. No emphasis on financial literacy.
Economics and entrepreneurship Students learn the fundamentals of economics and entrepreneurship across all grades. Focus on economics and entrepreneurship varies by grade.

Snapshot by grade

In social studies, students will learn about history, civics, geography, economics and financial literacy.

  • Kindergarten
    Kindergarten
    • Exploring my world and understanding timelines.
    • Understanding civics: responsibilities, expectations, and fairness.
    • An introduction to maps and globes.
    • Basic human needs and wants.
    • The concept of money and value.
    • Explore cultural and ethnic diversity in the classroom, school, and community.
  • Grade 1
    Grade 1
    • Early peoples and civilizations.
    • First Nations and Inuit traditions, including early Indigenous principles of value in bartering, trade, conservation, and sharing resources, cooperative relationships.
    • Ways early civilizations were governed.
    • Migration and settlement of ancient civilizations.
    • How people meet needs and wants.
    • Being money-wise involves making decisions about priorities.
  • Grade 2
    Grade 2
    • Foundations of modern civilization.
    • Origins of democracy.
    • Belief systems associated with Islam, Judaism, and Christianity and how they helped to shape the current world.
    • The origins of the Silk Road trading route and the connections between cultures and religions across the area between Europe and China.
    • Ideas and culture around the world.
    • How trade and business work.
    • Value of money and goods, managing your money.
  • Grade 3
    Grade 3
    • History of New France.
    • Arrival of First European explorers to North America and early contact with Indigenous peoples.
    • The significance of Indigenous ways, languages, and practices had in shaping Canadian culture.
    • Government of New France.
    • People of New France and connection with today’s Francophonie communities.
    • Resources and products in Canada.
    • How to make responsible financial choices, including saving and spending.
  • Grade 4
    Grade 4
    • Alberta’s history and the expansion of the west.
    • Francophone contributions to Alberta history.
    • History of varied ethnic settlers in Alberta, including Chinese, Sikh, Ukrainian, and Hutterite communities.
    • Places, location, and boundaries in Alberta
    • Black settlements in Alberta and the contributions of early Black pioneers.
    • How trade and transportation are related.
    • World trade, transportation, and the distribution of goods and services.
    • Métis settlements in Alberta and Treaties 6, 7, and 8.
    • Understanding and creating a business plan.
  • Grade 5
    Grade 5
    • History of early Canada.
    • Comparing forms of government in Canada, past and present.
    • An introduction to the world economy.
    • Understanding budgeting.
    • Restrictive immigration policies in Canadian history.
    • Geography of Canada.
    • Migration of people, conflicts and changes in North America, past and present.
    • Economic regions of Canada.
    • Understanding loans and borrowing.
  • Grade 6
    Grade 6
    • Comparing the histories of Canada and the United States.
    • American “Indian wars,” the displacement of Indigenous peoples in America, and American residential schools.
    • Racial segregation in America.
    • Inequality of voting rights affecting Indigenous peoples and people of colour.
    • Comparing political systems of Canada and the United States.
    • Migration of people, conflicts, and changes in North America.
    • An introduction to the world economy.

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K-6 curriculum.

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