I was super excited to see grammar, spelling and punctuation were going to be key items in the draft Alberta K-6 curriculum when I took a look at it last week.
Then I started reading some of the rest of it.
It’s a great idea to introduce practical math and finance concepts to the kids. They should know what money is and the value of it. However, one portion of the curriculum is telling teachers to discuss household finances, budgets and savings. Um, no. No one in any class needs to know how their particular family brings in, spends or saves compared to their classmates.
You want to give the kids the problem of, you earned $10 shovelling the neighbour’s driveway and mom said you can go to the store, here’s the price of things; what can you buy, have at it.
You want to know how much my husband and I make, how much goes to bills, how much goes to savings, if any, and how much, if any, goes to the kids you can stop right there.
In every classroom you are going to have families doing better than other families and that is just a recipe for separating, rather than unifying.
When it comes to health and fitness, I have a huge problem with elementary school students being told to focus on their Body Mass Index and how much they weigh.
We have enough kids (and adults) with body shape issues we do not need to start worrying about the number on the scale at a time when these kids’ bodies are going to radically change in the coming years, so how about we focus on healthy lifestyle choices instead?
In Science, the dinosaurs have disappeared. Okay, the dinosaurs went extinct millions of years ago, but it is one of the best parts of elementary school. Not only was this province literally built on the dinosaurs but dinosaurs kind of led me to where I am today. After learning about dinosaurs in class, I scavenged all the library books I could find on the subject and when I grew tired of the dinosaurs, there were sharks and dolphins and whales. Eventually, looking for a new topic to dive into, my librarian showed me how to use the Dewey Decimal system and just wandering through the rows of books, I discovered some of my favourite authors, a love of reading, writing and sharing other people’s stories. Thanks, brontosaurus.
As for the Social Studies curriculum? I don’t even know where to begin. I am not in a position to properly comment on the First Nations representation (or lack thereof) in the curriculum but I can say for sure I would love to see our kids learning about Canada’s colourful and complicated history — which has its own examples of racism and oppression that we are still working through. Knowing where we come from and how we got here will set them up for studies about other cultures and how the whole kit-and-kaboodle comes together in the world we are today — and what we need to do about it.
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