School boards have until June 6 to decide if they want their schools to pilot new draft curriculum for kindergarten to Grade 6 students in science and French.
On Tuesday, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced three draft curricula were ready to be piloted this fall: Science, French Immersion Language Arts and Literature, and French First Language Arts and Literature.
Last fall about 60 school boards refused to pilot draft curriculum — including Red Deer Public Schools, and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, Chinook’s Edge School Division and Wolf Creek Public Schools — due to concerns about content and the roll-out plan.
LaGrange said some changes have been made to the pilot subjects, including content load, age appropriateness, wording, clarity, and first nations, Metis and Inuit content.
“In science we made updates to integrate scientific methods and hands-on activities, emphasized connections to nature, addressed digital literacy and ethics. We also enhanced content in French First Language Arts and Literature, and French Immersion Language Arts and Literature to strengthen Francophone perspectives and culture, support higher level thinking skills and much more,” LaGrange said.
Piloting the curriculum is optional, and four francophone school boards in Alberta have already agreed to pilot the curriculum in September.
LaGrange said in the past, the curriculum was often just given to teachers without being piloted, and a number of school boards are interested.
“We felt very strongly that we wanted the participation of teachers and the ability to further refine draft curriculum. I strongly encourage participation across the system to support our students in having the best curriculum possible,” LaGrange said.
NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman said teachers already feel unsupported and ill-prepared to implement the new K to 3 math, English language arts and literature, and K to 6 physical education and wellness curriculum in the fall — never mind piloting more curriculum.
“While everyone is asking the UCP to slow down and address the stress and the trauma that students, staff and families have faced, especially during the last two years, the UCP is forging ahead forcing more change,” Hoffman said.
“They have ignored the pleas from parents, teachers, trustees, academics, racial Albertans and Indigenous leaders to scrap the entire curriculum.”
Alberta Education says between March 2021 and March 2022, Albertans provided feedback on the draft K-6 curriculum by completing more than 34,000 online surveys and participating in 31 virtual engagement sessions held in five regions across the province. About $1 million in grants supported 12 partner groups to engage with their communities.