Albertans have until June 2 to provide input into preliminary draft documents of the new curriculum being developed by Alberta Education. Now’s your chance to voice your opinion about including humane education, animal welfare or other topics related to kindness to animals, people and the environment. Here’s some tips to make it easier.
Before you delve into the survey, you should take a look at the Subject Introductions and the Scope and Sequences of the subject(s) you’re most interested in. Language Arts (English, Français, French), Mathematics, Social Studies, Sciences, Arts, and Wellness Education are all being redeveloped.
Subject Introductions are three or four page documents that describe each subject and explains why the subject is learned. Scope and Sequences outline what students will learn (scope) and when they will learn it (sequence) – these are much more detailed and contain Guiding Questions and Essential Understandings, which will eventually form the Learning Outcomes in the new curriculum. These documents are all in draft form now, and your opinion can make a difference in the final version. (If you’re really keen, you can look up the Guiding Framework and Curriculum Development Pathway for background – but it’s not really necessary to comment on the drafts).
In the survey, you can choose Part A for general review of what students will learn, or you can go in-depth into one or more subjects in Part B. For example, if you think animal science and stewardship for the environment should be included in the Science curriculum, choose Science in Part B of the survey. If you also believe that empathy for all living creatures is important, you may want to select one or both of the Wellness Education programs, also in Part B. Once you start the survey you need to keep the window open until you complete and submit it or your comments may be lost. That’s why we suggest you look at the documents before starting the survey.
Once you’ve downloaded the Scope and Sequence for your desired subjects(s), you may want to search the document for words or phrases you think should be included. For example, if you search for “animal welfare” in the Science Scope and Sequence, you’ll find it shows up once, in grade 8. If you think it should be expanded on or included in other grade levels, you can comment in the survey. You may also think of corresponding topics in other subjects – for example, you may want to suggest that study of animal protection laws be included at the grade 8 of Social Studies. Make some notes for yourself and then go to the survey to record your comments.
Look at what’s included, where it’s included, and what else could or should be included. If you like what you see, say so. If you think some areas are missing or need more emphasis, say that. This is another chance to speak up to include humane education principles in Alberta’s new curriculum. It’s worth a bit of your time to make an impact.