Alberta’s revamped K-4 school curriculum set for testing in 2019

Proposed changes to Alberta’s curriculum for kindergarten to Grade 4 students have been finalized and will be piloted in select schools starting in the new year.

Alberta Education Minister David Eggen did not say which schools will be part of the pilot project, but says the department will strive for a geographic balance.

The pilot project is to begin next fall with the complete rollout expected for the 2020-2021 school year.

Eggen introduced the curriculum changes two months ago, pending feedback from Albertans in surveys and town hall discussions.

Those changes have now been incorporated and involve mainly minor editing and language that emphasizes inclusivity.

Eggen says the pilot project will be closely monitored.

“We will ensure we have a product that is working, that has been field tested and is capable of teaching students in all ways,” Eggen said Friday.

“Those are the timelines we will use, but we will make sure that we are casting a practical eye every step of the way to make sure we get this right.”

The new K-4 curriculum, put online by the province, mixes the fundamental with the broader in all subjects.

In English, for example, the focus remains on reading and writing, but also on speaking and listening.

In math, there will be an emphasis on rote work, such as multiplication tables, along with their wider applications, such as rudimentary money basics.

There will be computational thinking concepts to help students become better problem-solvers.

Social studies such as history, geography, and political science will be explicitly part of the curriculum at every level.

The issue of consent will be discussed in Grades 2, 3 and 4.

The curriculum change is expected to be part of the spring election campaign, as the Opposition United Conservatives have promised to scrap the changes if they stray too far from learning fundamentals.

The UCP has also said it is concerned that Albertans have not been told which professors and special interest groups were invited to the rewrite table, adding that transparency is critical given the far-reaching impact of the changes.

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