Students have gone back to school across the province, including here in the Upper Columbia Valley, and they may begin to see some elements of the new provincial curriculum this fall.
A draft version of the new curriculum for kindergarten through Grade 9 was available for feedback earlier this year, and while it won’t officially be fully implemented until September 2016, students may see touches of it starting this September.
“They (the students) may notice things as teachers try out some of the different approaches of the new curriculum,” said Rocky Mountain School District 6 superintendent Paul Carriere, adding that parents or anybody else interested can go online and look at the new curriculum.
“The curriculum documents are on the web and structured in a way that shows the different thinking of the new curriculum,” he said. “(The new curriculum) provides teachers with more flexibility to pursue related areas. The old curriculum was often described as being a mile wide, but only an inch thick, so this new curriculum encompasses fewer topics, but in more depth and gives teachers more flexibility to personalize.”
The other big thing in the new curriculum is the incorporation of Aboriginal history and topics throughout the whole range of subjects, said Mr. Carriere.
“In the old curriculum, Aboriginal content was dealt with mostly in social studies. Now it is woven throughout the curriculum and students will find it in languages classes, art classes, for instance, and in many other classes as well as in social studies class. The new curriculum approaches aboriginal content in a different way.”
Work is already being done on changes to the Grade 10 to 12 curriculum, but that will not be implemented until September 2017.
A recent press release from the provincial Ministry of Education highlighted some of the other things students and parents can expect to see this fall.
“Students and parents are excited about the first day of school. As a parent — and the new minister of education — I’m excited, too. With a family of my own, I know how important it is to know your child is getting the right skills to be successful in school now, and later in life,” said Education Minister Mike Bernier in the release. “This year, with stability in the classroom, it’s a great opportunity for the B.C. government to focus 100 per cent on students. We are working in partnership with teachers, school boards, administrators and other educators from every corner of the province to move forward with plans that help all students thrive.”
Among the items mentioned in the press release is the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant, which is a one-time $1,200 grant being made available this fall to help parents plan and save for their child’s education after high school; the new provincial scholarship program (previously reported on by The Echo); a new emergency management planning guide that helps schools prepare for the unexpected; the continuing Erase Bullying campaign; and $3.5 million in new funding announced in May for the B.C. School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional program to provide snacks of B.C. fruits and vegetables right in the classroom.