Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 62: Education for Reconciliation (62-65)

New draft social studies curriculum ready to pilot

April 26, 2024

NationTalk: Alberta’s government is continuing to modernize the education system and improve student success by developing a curriculum that will drive a passion for learning. Since August 2023, Alberta’s government has been engaging with parents, teachers, education partners and curriculum specialists to develop a new draft K-6 social studies curriculum that will focus on building critical thinking skills and empowering students to be engaged citizens.

“I am incredibly proud of the work that’s gone into developing this new K-6 social studies curriculum, and I am excited to see how it transfers into the classroom through piloting this fall. I look forward to further collaboration with school leaders and teachers as we continue our work to build a comprehensive curriculum that builds students’ critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills, and empowers them to be active citizens.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Education

Content changes

Based on feedback from extensive engagement with Albertans and education partners over the past eight months, as well as research and best practices from other jurisdictions, Alberta Education has released an updated draft K-6 social studies curriculum to help school authorities and teachers prepare for optional classroom piloting, beginning in September. Draft curriculum content was adjusted to:

  • strengthen opportunities that encourage the development of critical thinking skills, including research and analytical skills, throughout the curriculum;
  • enhance the development of skills related to the concept of active citizenship;
  • address feedback on developmental appropriateness and load;
  • engage students in learning that promotes understanding of diversity across Canada and throughout the world, including First Nations, Métis, Inuit and francophone histories, contributions and perspectives; and
  • reflect the growth of learners through learning progressions that expand from individual experiences to communities and beyond.

“CASS is appreciative of the multiple entry points for engagement and eventual piloting that will continue to refine the new elementary social studies curriculum. Ideas and outcomes within the curriculum explore connections between people, place, and time that will help students become critical thinkers and make meaning of the world and society.”

Dr. Andrea Holowka, president, College of Alberta School Superintendents

“The proposed K-6 social studies curriculum covers many important issues of our time in a thoughtful manner. The draft curriculum is a solid base to further develop through the classroom pilot; I believe we have something pretty solid in hand with this latest version.”

Michel Kelly-Gagnon, founding president, Montreal Economic Institute

“I am pleased to see the new draft curriculum embraces multiculturalism and incorporates lessons around discrimination, Islamophobia and racism. This will help create classrooms and communities where every student feels seen, included and valued.”

Aldi Hasan, secretary treasurer, Al Mustafa Academy

Classroom piloting

Alberta’s government is providing flexibility in how school authorities participate in optional classroom piloting, including which grades are a part of the pilot and how many learning outcomes will receive feedback. Throughout the piloting process, teachers will be provided with the information and tools they need to work with the draft curriculum in their classrooms, including:

  • teacher release days to support planning and instruction preparation;
  • learning and teaching resources;
  • professional learning opportunities; and
  • opportunities to provide feedback to Alberta Education on the draft curriculum, including how it is experienced in classrooms.

Teachers can access comprehensive learning and teaching resources and professional learning supports aligned with draft curriculum, including subject-specific overviews, quick reference videos, illustrative examples and fact sheets online.

Alberta Education will consider all feedback from classroom piloting to finalize the new K-6 social studies curriculum prior to implementation. To participate in classroom piloting during the 2024-25 school year, school authorities will be asked to express their interest by May 15.

“Edmonton Catholic Schools is committed to the piloting phase to ensure our teachers can provide valuable feedback. Our approach is guided by collaboration with teachers, Alberta Education and other jurisdictional partners to provide all students with the best possible learning experience.”

Sandra Palazzo, chair, Edmonton Catholic School Division

“Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) is pleased government is providing a flexible approach for school boards with optional classroom piloting, resources and professional learning opportunities. ASBA values ongoing consultation on curriculum implementation in support of student success.”

Marilyn Dennis, president, Alberta School Boards Association

“Rocky View Schools (RVS) appreciates that the government is providing school boards flexibility and autonomy to determine how they will participate in piloting the draft social studies curriculum. RVS values the opportunity to share feedback to improve the draft and support RVS and students across the province in receiving the world-class education they deserve.”

Fiona Gilbert, board chair, Rocky View Schools
Quick facts

  • Budget 2024 provides $34 million to support curriculum piloting and implementation in the 2024-25 school year.
  • As part of the curriculum engagement process, Alberta Education also gathered feedback to update the ministerial order on Student Learning and the Guiding Framework for the Design and Development of Kindergarten to Grade 12 Curriculum.
    • The new ministerial order focuses on career education, knowledge and skills development, educational programming and preparing students to be active and engaged citizens.
    • The new Guiding Framework focuses on inclusive language and representation of diverse voices, includes content to align with new curriculum and removes references to pedagogy.

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