New K-6 curriculum: Renewing focus on essential knowledge and skills (video)

Provincial Press Release March 29, 2021 @ 12:11pm published at 12:15pm


Alberta’s updated draft kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum brings a renewed focus to literacy, numeracy, citizenship and practical skills, giving students a strong base of essential knowledge for future learning.

The revised and strengthened K-6 curriculum – the result of more than a year of consultations with parents, teachers, and subject matter experts – is based on proven research and is designed to improve student outcomes across all subjects, following several years of declining and stagnant student performance.

“The new curriculum delivers on our commitment to Albertans to refocus learning on essential knowledge and skills in order to give our children the best possible chance at success. Parents and teachers have waited a long time for this, and I’m pleased to say that we’ve delivered. Another promise made, promise kept.” Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

Parents and teachers will see four key learning themes in the revised curriculum that spans all grades:

  • Literacy

  • Using phonics and other proven best practices, students will be taught to master reading, writing, speaking, and listening in order to build a strong foundation for learning.


  • Numeracy

  • By learning to think fluently about numbers and equations, students will gain essential knowledge for everyday tasks and a foundation for more complex learning in the future.


  • Citizenship

  • Drawing from history, geography, economics, civics, and other studies, students will develop an appreciation of how Canadians have built one of the most generous, prosperous, and diverse societies in the world.


  • Practical skills

  • From household budgeting, to digital literacy, business planning, healthy relationships and the importance of consent, students will learn a new set of essential skills that will prepare them for success in the real world.


“The new K-6 curriculum is inspired by the science of reading and brings to our teachers, parents, and children what is currently known around the world as best practice to support our children to become successful readers and writers.” George Georgiou, professor, faculty of education - educational psychology, University of Alberta

“This new draft curriculum is clear, concise, concrete and comprehensive. I am excited for both the teachers and their students, as it is a huge step forward towards evidence-based best practices in math education. This increased standard of excellence will give many parents great confidence that all our children will develop the mastery of fundamental knowledge, understanding, and skills in mathematics necessary to succeed in life.” Nhung Tran-Davies, parent and math advocate

“The Edmonton Chamber applauds the new focus this curriculum places on financial literacy and the foundational skills that employers and entrepreneurs rely on each and every day. This will help spur creative thinking and fuel a new generation of Alberta entrepreneurial leadership.” Janet Riopel, president & CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

“As a former member on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada – Alberta, during our hearings was the first province to ‘publicly declare that it was launching its own initiative to develop mandatory curriculum on the Treaties and residential schools for all students’. We believed that education, in general, is the key to reconciliation and with the work done to date; it is consistent with the United Nations Declaration in the promotion of respectful relationships between citizens and as a Chief, I am honoured to be a validator to the new education curriculum and look forward to its transforming and positive change.” Former Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild

“Including computer science in Alberta's new K-6 science curriculum is a watershed moment; it means Alberta students will now learn the foundational ideas, problem-solving and creative thinking skills behind this 21st century science which now touches nearly every aspect of our lives.” Cathy Adams, professor and Vargo teaching chair, faculty of education, University of Alberta

“I am thrilled that the Alberta government has ensured that consent will be taught as an essential part of the K-6 curriculum. I have been advocating for these changes for many years and applaud this leadership. We clearly know that this topic thrives on society’s ignorance and indifference so the sooner we give our young people the tools and confidence, the better. To prevent maltreatment we need to start at the youngest age possible, so, in my mind, this education will not only change lives, it will save them.” Sheldon Kennedy, co-founder, Respect Group

Alberta’s government remains committed to a transparent review process. The draft K-6 curriculum is now online at alberta.ca/curriculum for all Albertans to provide feedback until spring 2022.

Next steps Classroom validation, a process where school authorities are invited to test the draft curriculum, is targeted to begin in September with schools across the province that choose to participate.

Six million dollars have been set aside this fiscal year to support the new K-6 curriculum in select schools supporting validation. These funds will be used to develop critical resources and professional development to support teachers through this important validation phase. Additional funds will be made available to support further implementation efforts in future budgets.

The feedback from Albertans and the classroom validation will be incorporated into the draft K - 6 curriculum before it is implemented across the province. Students are expected to be learning from the new curriculum during the 2022-23 school year.

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s Grade 4 student results for reading literacy in the Progress in the International Reading Literacy Study has declined over 10 years:

  • 2006 score: 560 – ranked 1st of 45 countries

  • 2016 score: 547 – ranked 17th of 50 countries


  • Alberta’s Grade 4 student results in math and science in Trends in International Mathematics and Science studies declined between 2007 and 2019:

  • 2007 math score: 505 – ranked 16th of 65 countries

  • 2019 math score: 490 – ranked 39th of 64 countries

  • 2007 science score: 543 – ranked 4th of 65 countries

  • 2019 science score: 530 – ranked 16th of 64 countries


  • In September 2022, the draft Grades 7 - 10 curriculum is expected to be ready for classroom validation.

  • During the 2023-24 school year, the draft Grades 7 - 10 curriculum is targeted for province wide implementation.

  • In September 2023, the Grades 11 and 12 draft curriculum is targeted for classroom validation, with provincial implementation the next year.



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