MLA Mark Smith/ file photo

MLA Mark Smith/ file photo

MLA Mark Smith: Alberta K-12 draft curriculum

Alberta has produced some of the best curriculum anywhere in the world. The new K-6 draft curriculum has just been released and Albertans are carefully combing through it to see how it is going impact their children’s education.

The new K-6 curriculum draft:

– was produced and vetted by a Curriculum Advisory Panel made up of experts.

– 8,500 Albertans provided feedback through public consultations.

– 102 experienced elementary teachers provided feedback as well

– The Association of Alberta Deans of Education and over 30 Faculty of Education deans and professors.

As is always the case Albertans have spoken up both in praise and criticism of the new curriculum. Many educators believe that the new curriculum’s re-emphasis on traditional math logarithms and the de-emphasizing of Discovery Math is going to help Alberta students reverse the trend in declining international math scores.

There are also some who are questioning one or more aspects of the curriculum. Some elementary teachers have reached out to me worried about the amount of material or age appropriateness of the material in Social Studies. As I scanned the K-6 Social Studies curriculum I saw many positives.

– I like the way it is organized with an: Organizing Idea, Guiding Question and Knowledge, Understanding and Skills objectives.

– It is clearly divided into the traditional components of History, Civics, Geography, Economics and has a new component added in called Financial Literacy.

– I like the chronological progression through the grades from First Nations, Ancient and Medieval Societies, Canadian history, settling of Alberta and the North West, the Great Migration and Canada/USA.

– I see the many touchstones that will help our students understand the world that they live in today from: various faiths, to First Nations, European, French Canadian cultures etc.

Yet there are still challenges ahead for us. Expecting teachers to implement all of the disciplines of learning in one year is going to be a difficult task. I look forward to the feedback from the validating teachers, especially as they address the issue of content and age appropriateness in Social Studies. There is still much work to be done in developing age appropriate resources and assessment pieces. Perhaps some of these concerns can be addressed by engaging and articulating a clear role for the Alberta Regional Professional Development Center moving forward.

Over all I believe the new K-6 draft Program of Studies is a step forward over the previous draft curriculum inherited by the government and will with some more work produce a world class curriculum for our students.

— Mark Smith, MLA for Drayton Valley – Devon

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