Alberta releases K-6 curriculum update with three subjects rolling out in September

In English Language Arts and Literature, content has been updated to include more of a focus on creative and critical thinking and digital literacy

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Alberta’s UCP government has released finalized portions of the K-6 curriculum that will roll out in classrooms across the province in the fall after years of wrangling.

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Updates published Wednesday to K-3 math and English language arts and literature as well as K-6 physical education and wellness will be required starting this September. Final drafts for Grade 4 to 6 math and English will be optional for schools in the fall.

With math content redistributed among grades, students will see the concept of fractions introduced in Grade 3.

In English Language Arts and Literature, content has been updated to include more of a focus on creative and critical thinking and digital literacy. While an earlier physical education and wellness draft was criticized for introducing a problematic focus on the body rather than on wellness, the government says it has been updated with content related to “consent, mental health, nutrition, safety, physical fitness, foundations and confidence to value physical activities for life. ”

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Feedback on the curriculum also prompted the government to shift some content around to make sure it’s more age-appropriate, reduce lists of examples to pare down the load of content, and to address First Nations, Métis, and Inuit content in all three subjects.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said at a news conference Wednesday the government has been listening to all feedback.

“Focusing on these subjects will help our younger students who are in the critical early stages of their development, strengthening their numeracy and literacy skills – a promise we made to parents and to students alike,” said LaGrange, who promised to release public reports on all public engagements and from the government’s education partners.

You can watch the press conference here

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The province will spend $ 59 million on teacher professional learning and resources to make sure teachers and students are equipped in 2022-23, but training to prepare for the updated curriculum will be left up to school boards.

It comes after LaGrange announced late last year the government would delay some of the most controversial subjects of its draft curriculum, including social studies. The government has already been tweaking its K-6 draft and correcting inaccuracies and errors, including adding dinosaurs to science.

Full implementation by September 2024

A majority of school boards across the province had refused to pilot the full draft curriculum first released last March, which was lambasted by experts for being regressive, age inappropriate, and lacking in diversity.

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By September 2024, it expects all K-6 grades and subjects will be implemented.

A 17-member Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group was struck in January to provide recommendations to the government on timing, preparing the education system, and classroom supports.

Draft K-6 French Immersion Language Arts and Literature, French First Language and Literature, and Science curricula are being refined based on feedback and will be piloted in September. The government plans to release those subjects in May.

Social studies, however, will not be piloted in classrooms until September 2023, and fully rolled out until fall 2024.

The government said it’s received feedback on the Social Studies Draft Design Blueprint it’s being used to review and refine the draft K-6 Social Studies curriculum.

Piloting of draft Fine Arts curriculum will begin in late 2022, with a final K-6 Fine Arts curriculum anticipated to be released in spring of 2023 for implementation in September 2023.

The implementation of junior high school and high school curricula has been pushed forward, although government officials did not provide a firm timeline.

More to come…

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