French immersion, science the next stage in curriculum phase-in, Alberta says

The next stage in Alberta’s curriculum phase-in will happen in September when science, Francophone and French immersion curriculums for kindergarten to Grade 3 are introduced and schools will be able to implement the new subjects for the older elementary grades if they wish, the province announced Friday.

English language arts and math curriculums will also be implemented in the fall for the rest of the elementary grades, after the subjects were introduced for kindergarten to Grade 3 for the 2022-23 school year.

“Curriculum renewal is essential to help prepare our students for a rapidly-changing labour market, which is placing an ever-increasing premium on adaptability and transferable skills,” said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange.

Read more: Alberta Teachers’ Association says draft K-6 curriculum is ‘fatally flawed,’ demands rewrite

The government said it has listened to the concerns of parents and teachers regarding the curriculum changes.

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“In response to feedback on the original draft, changes across the (science, Francophone and French immersion) subjects have been made to address areas of concern with content load, age appropriateness and wording clarity,” the government said in a news release.

The UCP’s new curriculum has been fiercely criticized over the party’s time in office.

“This curriculum implementation has been a gong show from the start,” said NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman.

Click to play video: 'Survey results suggest Albertans view province’s draft curriculum unfavourably'

Survey results suggest Albertans view province’s draft curriculum unfavourably

“The scope and sequence of this curriculum is developmentally wrong for a lot of kids. While there are parts of it that we think we may be able to salvage, the government has got it wrong and should not be moving ahead with any new curriculum.”

The head of the Alberta Teachers Association agreed.

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“The curriculum is overloaded with too many outcomes. Because of poor sequencing, students are missing the prerequisite knowledge they need to be successful,” said Jason Schilling.

Schilling said only 37 per cent of teachers are satisfied with the new English language arts curriculum, 30 per cent are satisfied with physical education and 26 per cent with math.

Read more: ‘Ditch this draft, it’s garbage’: Lethbridge residents join province-wide rally against proposed K-6 curriculum

He added there isn’t enough support in the plan for teachers to properly learn and implement the new curriculum.

The government said it is providing $800 on a per-teacher basis to support professional learning and $45 per student to buy new resources to support implementation, totalling $47 million.

“In addition, Alberta Education will retain funding to purchase, license and develop high-quality learning and teaching resources aligned with the new curriculum,” said the government.

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Schilling added the government hasn’t been checking in with the 360 teachers who piloted the new curriculum in the 2021-22 school year.

“They’ve asked superintendents and trustees, they’ve asked themselves through their implementation committee, but those people who they’ve been asking are not the ones who are responsible for working with this curriculum in schools on a daily basis,” he said.

Calgary Catholic School District chair Cathie Williams said teachers are looking forward to implementing the new curriculum.

“Teachers are impressed with how condensed and clearly laid out the curriculum is, as well as the consideration that has been given to age-appropriate sequencing of learning outcomes,” she said.

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