By Joseph Schow
MP for Cardston-Siksika
When Albertans voted for the United Conservatives in 2019, they voted for a party running on a platform that included removing politics from our school curriculum and ensuring Social Studies classes would provide opportunities for students to learn and appreciate the ideas that have shaped Alberta, Canada and the world.
Social Studies should be about teaching students to think critically about historical and contemporary issues, not indoctrinating students with the anti-oil politics of radical groups like “Extinction Rebellion” or socialist literature like “Mouseland,” as members of the NDP would prefer. That’s why Alberta’s new K-6 curriculum focuses on helping students develop skills that will prepare them to lead fulfilling lives and play a significant role in our democratic society.
Under Alberta’s new curriculum, Grade 1 students will develop a better understanding of Canada’s First Peoples by learning creation stories from local First Nations and Inuit communities, such as the Blackfoot legend of Napi and creation stories from Cree, Dene and Inuit communities.
In Grade 2, students will learn about the common roots and overlapping beliefs and traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They will be taught about the emergence of democracy, the Olympics in Ancient Greece and how Roman influence on law and infrastructure can still be seen today.
Students in Grades 3 and 4 will learn about the role of the first European explorers and settlements in Canada. This includes lessons on the founding of New France by Samuel de Champlain, the fur trade and its importance in the Athabasca region, Plains Cree culture, Alexander Mackenzie’s quest to find the Northwest Passage and the emergence of the Hudson’s Bay Company.
By Grade 5 and 6, students will begin studying the important role eight million English, Scottish and Irish immigrants had in shaping British North America and the American Thirteen Colonies. They will learn about the union of Upper and Lower Canada and its significance in the relationship of English and French Canada today. They will also be introduced to historical conflicts like the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, the War of 1812 and the American Civil War.
This is a modern curriculum that reflects the diversity and history of Alberta and provides students with essential knowledge. It’s a curriculum that recognizes the importance of the First Nations and Inuit societies who first inhabited this land, the religions that shaped the values of millions of Albertans and the groups and individuals who shaped Alberta, Canada and the world.
Alberta’s government remains committed to a transparent curriculum review process. The draft K-6 curriculum is now online at Alberta.ca/curriculum for all Albertans to see in its entirety.
All Albertans are encouraged to provide feedback to the government until spring 2022 at http://www.alberta.ca/curriculum-have-your-say.aspx. You can also respond directly to our United Conservative Caucus on the new curriculum at unitedconservativecaucus.ca/k6-curriculum.