School subjects

Three other primary subjects ready for testing in the fall: Province

The new curriculum for K-6 Science, French as a First Language and Literature and French Immersion Arts and Literature will be ready for Alberta schools to pilot in schools to come if they wish.

According to the province, three more subjects are ready for trial in Alberta’s elementary classrooms.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced on Tuesday that the Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum in science, French as a first language and literature, and French immersion will be piloted starting in fall.

School authorities will have the choice to pilot one or all subjects, with a final decision required by June 6.

LaGrange said changes were made to all three subjects following feedback, classroom piloting and engagement activities held between March 2021 and March 2022.

Adjustments to the science curriculum include integrating the scientific method, hands-on learning, nature-based concepts, digital literacy and ethics, depending on the province.

LaGrange added that the content of the French first language and literature has been modified to include instructions for developing Francophone identity through the addition of Francophone perspectives and cultures, while the French immersion program has also been redesigned.

Albertans can provide a second round of feedback on the French and science pilot subjects before the drafts are finalized in the spring of 2023, according to LaGrange. The French and science programs are expected to be implemented in the 2023-2024 school year, she added.

The minister said the trial of French and science was based on advice from the Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group.

“When you look at the composition of the program implementation advisory committee, you will see that a majority of people will not be responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the program. It is a failure of the government not to listen to those who actually do this work,” wrote Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, Twitter Tuesday.

The mandatory introduction of a new curriculum for K-6 English Language Arts, Mathematics and Physical Education and Wellbeing will also begin in the next school year.

Overall, the new K-6 subject guides have been modified to address criticism and feedback regarding content load, age appropriateness, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit,” LaGrange said.

The ATA has consistently criticized the province’s decision to update the K-6 curriculum, but has not released an official statement as of press time.

Schilling also questioned the timeline for publishing stakeholder feedback, which he said was originally scheduled for May by LaGrange.

During the press conference on May 17, only four journalists in person were able to ask questions to the speakers. No phone line calls were made.