Alberta government releases draft version of updated K-4 curriculum

The Alberta government on Thursday released draft documents of the updated curriculum for students in kindergarten through Grade 4.

Documents show proposals for arts, math, social studies, science, language

Alberta Education Minister David Eggen says the curriculum upheaval is a transparent process, though the draft version of the curriculum was shared publicly for the first time on Thursday. (CBC)

The Alberta government on Thursday released draft documents of the updated curriculum for students in kindergarten through Grade 4.

The documents incorporate feedback received on a previous version that was posted online in the spring of 2017 as part of a curriculum survey.

Education Minister David Eggen said the curriculum upheaval is a transparent process, noting the working documents, which cover six subjects for K-4 students, have been seen by parents who attended consultation meetings.

"There's no element of secrecy here, we simply wanted to have working drafts that were incorporating different layers of input," Eggen said before a roundtable discussion on the future of the K-12 math curriculum.

"Each step along the way, we're building a more coherent scope and sequence and curriculum, so what we have now is still definitely working papers."

Eggen noted some of the information shared with public working groups was unofficially made public, prompting the decision to release the drafts in their entirety on Thursday.

"I would have preferred that we could have put it into a little bit better format and incorporated some of the input that we got from the public meetings and so forth, but you know, it is what it is and it'll be out there and it'll be fine," he said.

The documents released Thursday will be updated further in the next week or so, Eggen's press secretary Lindsay Harvey said.

Kenney claimed curriculum being rewritten in secret

Education Minister David Eggen (second from right) took part in a roundtable discussion about Alberta's math curriculum Thursday. (CBC)

The new K-4 curriculum is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. Work on the Grade 5-12 curriculum will begin after that.

At the United Conservative Party's founding annual general meeting in May, party leader Jason Kenney said the NDP is rewriting the curriculum in secret, adding it was based on "social engineering and more failed teaching fads."

"If the NDP tries to smuggle more of their politics into the classroom through their curriculum, we will put that curriculum through the shredder and go right back to the drawing board," Kenney said then.

Eggen said Kenney is politicizing the work of the experts who were consulted for the curriculum review.

"The suggestion that you would take good work like that and put it through the shredder for political purposes, I find that deeply offensive," Eggen said.

Contents of the drafts

The draft documents show proposals for eight subject areas including arts, mathematics, social studies, science, French, wellness, and English and French language arts.

Learning outcomes for Grade 4 students, for example, include the ability to tell time using analog clocks, perform controlled experiments and understand that Alberta's history is shaped by a variety of experiences and perspectives.

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