The province is taking a step back on its controversial curriculum for kindergarten to grade 6 in an effort to address concerns from parents, teachers, and education experts.
School divisions were given the opportunity to pilot the draft curriculum in the 2021/2022 school year; many -- including the Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) – did not.
"I feel that we’re engaged in one of the most challenging years in education in recent history, and expecting staff to come off of this year and be expected to learn and to live something this big right now is simply not in their best interest,” said Bob Stewart, PWPSD superintendent (Grande Prairie Town & Country News April 2021).
He also told the News PWPSD would create a focus group to review the curriculum further and give feedback to the province.
Only three subjects in the new curriculum -- English Language Arts and Literature, Mathematics and Physical Education and Wellness -- will be implemented in September 2022.
The province says it will be meeting with an advisory group of education and curriculum implementation experts early in 2022.
The Social Studies curriculum was one of the subject areas under scrutiny; the province says it is addressing the feedback it has received.
Changes to the Social Studies curriculum will include more age and developmental appropriateness along with ensuring students will learn about building civic skills and explore First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Francophone and other cultures.
Stewart told the News last April that PWPSD had confirmed similar findings with other school divisions in the province.
“Some concepts may not be grade-level appropriate for students,” said Stewart.
The province said it has also made changes to English Language Arts and Literature, Physical Education and Wellness, Fine Arts (Music) and Science curriculums to add clarity. Topics such as positive body image, climate changes and learning about dinosaurs have also been expanded on.
The province says it will add additional updates to the curriculums before the September implementation.
Alberta Education admits that changes related to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit and Francophone perspectives in subject areas outside of Social Studies have not yet been addressed.
Moving forward this spring, Alberta Education plans to finalize the draft K-6 social studies design blueprint and revise all other subjects in the draft K-6 curriculum.
Feedback opportunities will continue for the public on the updated draft curriculum.
Virtual information sessions and virtual engagements will take place in the coming weeks for more information, go to alberta.ca/curriculum-have-your-say.
The K-6 curriculum was released to the public in March 2021 after a 12-member independent curriculum advisory panel was created in August 2019 by the province.
PWPSD and GPCSD were unavailable for comment by press time.
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News