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Three subjects of new curriculum ready for classrooms: Alberta government

Government of Alberta media release:

Alberta’s government has listened to all feedback from classroom piloting and engagement activities to make final updates to the kindergarten to Grade 6 English Language Arts and Literature, Mathematics and Physical Education and Wellness curriculums. The updated curriculums continue to align with top-performing jurisdictions, both within Canada and internationally, and those with knowledge-rich curriculums. Albertans can access the final curriculum and see what has changed at alberta.ca/curriculum.

“Taking part in piloting the draft curriculum has allowed us to have a voice in the process. We thank the government for listening to teachers’ feedback and making related changes. I can’t thank my teachers enough for all the hard work they put in and for what they have accomplished in the pandemic and during piloting.”

- Stefanie Brown, principal, Florence MacDougall Community School

“It took eight years of advocacy for me to see this. This is a very strong math curriculum. It is clear, concise, age-appropriate and well sequenced. It is a curriculum that sees and realizes our children's fullest potential. They will have the confidence and skills to pursue their dreams and succeed not only in the STEM fields, but also in life."

- Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies, parent and advocate for strong math curriculum

“The revised K-6 Mathematics curriculum includes strengthened content that fosters core competencies in math. This included reinforcing basic fundamentals in a well-sequenced manner that will promote a student’s understanding of math in a real-world context where calculations, measurements, statistical analyses, problem-solving and an applied knowledge of money and finances are required. This strong foundation in math will also help support the innovation and creativity needed to thrive in an increasingly technological society. I was pleased to see the flow of the curriculum aligns with other educational jurisdictions that have strong international reputations.”

- Martin Mrazik, full professor, department of educational psychology, University of Alberta and former teacher, Elk Island Public School Division

English Language Arts and Literature curriculum supported by world-class research

The English Language Arts and Literature curriculum was refined using feedback from Albertans and education system partners, as well as after reviewing world-class research on literacy in young learners. Pandemic-related learning disruptions makes it more important than ever to focus on foundational reading, writing and speaking skills for early learners.

This focus was underscored through a recent pilot project conducted by University of Alberta researchers and funded by Alberta Education. The results showed that 82 per cent of the students who were struggling to read saw significant improvements after small group intervention. Resources supported by this research will also be available for curriculum implementation and the researchers have continued to work closely with Alberta Education to advise on and support curriculum development.

George Georgiou, who led this research and pilot project, was recently invited to participate in a Canadian Commission for UNESCO working group to further examine the impacts of the pandemic on the elementary and secondary school systems in Canada.

“Reading is undoubtedly the foundation of learning. The new English Language Arts and Literature curriculum is grounded in research and allows for explicit and systematic instruction in foundational skills such as phonological awareness, phonics, fluency and vocabulary. These skills set children up for success in comprehension and reading enjoyment.”

- George Georgiou, professor, department of educational psychology, faculty of education, University of Alberta

Supporting a successful curriculum implementation

Alberta’s government remains committed to helping ensure elementary teachers are prepared to teach the new curriculum this fall. In 2022-23, $59 million is being invested in teacher professional learning and learning and teaching resources to make sure teachers and students are equipped for the updated K-6 curriculum in classrooms. This funding is part of a $191-million investment over three years to support curriculum implementation across the province.

The government is providing teachers across the province with the following supports and resources on new.LearnAlberta.ca so they can continue preparing for the upcoming school year: 

  • the final K-3 English Language Arts and Literature, K-3 Mathematics and K-6 Physical Education and Wellness curriculums
  • the Provincial Resource Review Guide, with new guidelines for selecting learning and teaching resources aligned with the new curriculums
  • additional comprehensive digital resources, such as Gizmos (Explore Learning) and Jump Math, have been procured for use in the classroom
    • Gizmos supports student learning through 400 labs and interactive simulations
    • Jump Math provides access to research-supported, comprehensive mathematics resources including teacher resource guides and lesson slides
  • bridging resources to assist with transitioning from the current curriculums to the new curriculums
  • videos and support documents with an overview and orientation to the new curriculums
  • planning tools, such as sample lesson plans
  • functionality that allows for teacher planning, collaboration and sharing (boards)
  • information about flexible professional learning opportunities that start in May

“The College of Alberta School Superintendents believes today’s announcement will help provide clarity to many of the education system’s questions regarding curriculum implementation. Today’s release of the final updates to three curriculums and details about resources will allow school divisions to better support their teachers as they plan for student success using the new curriculum."

- Wilco Tymensen, president, College of Alberta School Superintendents and member, Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group

“As a member of the Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group and a school division that piloted the three subjects that will be implemented this year, I am pleased to see the release of this revised curriculum and the resources that will support its implementation. This has been a collaborative process and I can see that all members’ voices are being heard. It is critically important that we continue moving forward and the implementation of these subjects and grades in September 2022 is the next step in doing that.”

- Michael McMann, superintendent, Fort Vermilion School Division and member, Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group

School authorities will receive more details directly from Alberta Education to facilitate planning and implementation for September. They will also continue to have flexibility to select resources to support curriculum implementation in their classrooms.

New details on implementation, piloting and engagement

As it is finalized, the new K-6 curriculum will be implemented in three phases, with Phase 1 beginning in the 2022-23 school year. By September 2024, it is anticipated that all K-6 grades and subjects will be implemented. More information on curriculum implementation, further piloting of some subjects and engagement will be on alberta.ca/curriculum as details become available.

Quick facts

  • About 400,000 students will be the first to benefit from learning from the new K-3 Mathematics, K-3 English Language Arts and Literature, and K-6 Physical Education and Wellness curriculums during the 2022-23 school year.
  • Changes across the three K-6 subjects included updates to address instances of concern with content load, age appropriateness, wording clarity and First Nations, Métis and Inuit content.
    • In the English Language Arts and Literature content updates include strengthened content related to creative and critical thinking, and digital literacy.
    • Mathematics content was redistributed and strengthened to address fractions, measurement, operations (adding/subtracting, multiplying/dividing) and percentages to better develop number sense.
    • Enhancements to the Physical Education and Wellness content related to consent, mental health, nutrition, safety, physical fitness, foundations and confidence to value physical activities for life.
  • In 2022-23, $59 million has been allocated for the K-6 implementation process.
    • To support school authorities, about $37.7 million will offer flexibility and support local decision making.
      • $17.7 million, on a per student basis, to purchase additional curriculum resources to support implementation of new K-6 curriculum in three subject areas.
      • $20 million for professional learning for teachers, allocated to school authorities on a per teacher basis.
    • To support resource purchasing, licensing and development, about $14.8 million will be retained by Alberta Education to:
      • Leverage economies of scale offered by provincial buying power.
      • Provide equitable access across all school authorities through the availability of high-quality learning and teaching resources aligned to the new curriculum.
      • Invest $3.5 million in the procurement and development of French resources.
    • To support classroom piloting, $6.5 million in the form of release time to support the ability to plan and participation in feedback sessions.
  • The 12-member Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group has balanced representation from across the education system to help ensure the best interests of the entire education system inform the group’s advice and recommendations.
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